On its page for Obituary, Wikipedia states:
An obituary is a death notice which often includes an attempt by an author, publication, or news organization to give an account of the life of someone considered significant who has recently died. It can, however, be simply a death notice (also known as a funeral notice), and may be a paid advertisement written by family members and placed in a newspaper either by the family or the funeral home.
The links for ‘death notice’ and ‘funeral notice’ go to empty pages–the web doesn’t know what they are. I think this is more than coincidence. It demonstrates something I’ve been thinking about tonight, namely, that the web lacks an equivalent of the local paper’s death notice. Sure, the web is filled with RIP tweets, and other entertainment type stories about the passing of celebrities. But what of the common man and woman?
The newspaper is my parents’ preferred way of interacting with their community, country, and world. My generation has never been in love with the newspaper. And mostly that’s OK. I think we do a better job with our chaotic mix of web-based media. But I’m not sure we have an answer for the death notice. Perhaps it hasn’t been necessary yet. Perhaps the web is just young, and hasn’t had to deal with the passing of large parts of its population like the newspaper has.
Unlike the notice of marriage, or graduation, or birth, the death notice is currently 404. Are we OK with that? What, if anything, are we missing by not porting this over from print culture?