You’re attending a funeral. The mood is somber, everyone is sad and trying to pay their respects. Then someone pulls out their phone, loads Snapchat and takes a selfie. Looking over, you see that they’ve applied a special geofilter: one with the name of the deceased at the bottom, and RIP on top. Sound weird? Well, it’s really a thing. And if you read on, you might come to think that it’s really not all that disturbing.
According to Cnet, it all started a few months ago when Stephenie Buchanan ordered a special filter for her brother’s funeral. Her brother, she said, was an avid Snapchat user, and she felt that immortalizing him using the app and a geofilter that read “T’s World” on top and “We love you Tarrence, rest in Heaven” at the bottom. And while she reported that some people at the funeral were puzzled, most of them started taking selfies and thought that the idea was a good one. That these pictures somehow were an homage to the deceased and a new way to celebrate the way that he had lived.
When you think about it, it certainly is unconventional, but definitely not unheard of. A few centuries ago, when photography was still in its infancy, it wasn’t uncommon for families to pose deceased family members to look as if they were still alive and take a portrait – often featuring the deceased along with other family members. Most families had no picture of the deceased while they were alive, so this solution allowed them to keep a likeness of their loved ones after their death.
Technology is evolving, and most younger people have been growing up with it all their lives. It’s the way they communicate, the way they share news, the way they share pictures. All in all, it isn’t very surprising that this would apply to funerals as well as birthdays, weddings, and other events. We share sad news on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram all the time. Why not use Snapchat in the same way? Buchanan said all the selfies made her smile, and she’s considering putting together a photo album compiling them all. And why not? It would be a good reminder of how many friends her brother had, and of how much he was loved.