Awesome Etiquette: How To Share Difficult News On Social Media

Dec 4, 2015

"Can you provide any guidance on the best way to deliver and potentially devastating personal news about my condition with compassion for those who will be receiving the message?"

Social media lets us maintain connections with people that we don’t get to see. It can be a useful way to find out that an old friend is getting married or a cousin found a great new job.

However, social media isn’t only for sharing good news. What is the best way to share difficult news with your friends and family on social media

I was recently informed by my doctor that it is likely I have an aggressive cancer with a very poor prognosis. Since there is a good chance that this is terminal, I would like to reach out to my friends and family to let everyone know what is going on. This would give people I don't interact with regularly an opportunity to reach out to me and not be shocked by the news that comes later.  I was thinking of the post my Facebook page and or an e-mail message sent to all these people so they can be informed directly by me. I don't want to feel like I'm imposing on them while pushing myself into the spotlight.

Can you provide any guidance on the best way to deliver and potentially devastating personal news about my condition with compassion for those who will be receiving the message?

Sincerely,

Howard

What you're going through is already monumentally difficult and figuring out how to communicate that to others is no easy task. Reach out to the many people via phone or in person.  

Can you provide any guidance on the best way to deliver and potentially devastating personal news about my condition with compassion for those who will be receiving the message?

It’s important to have this conversation in real time or face-to-face because often people aren’t expecting to hear serious or difficult news through an email. A letter can be a good way to communicate too because it can convey the seriousness of the issue and remain personal.

Don't underestimate the impact, effectiveness and appropriateness of of word of mouth. If they're close friends and family that you know you can trust, it can be a good way to deliver your news in a really personal way that's not secondhand news.

Anything you can do to connect with people personally first is a good idea. Once you’ve done that and are comfortable who you've told, you could make a post via social media.

You want to be sure the post is brief and to the point and with a clear message about how you’re handling the situation and your wishes moving forward. You can always have someone else read it over before you post to make sure what you’re saying is clear.