The Five Stages Of Facebook Grief

On Tuesday, I will be giving a presentation to Oak Park-area business owners on the use of social media in business.

As part of my preparation, I was struck by the sense of dread that Facebook and its social-networking brethren routinely strike in the hearts of many business owners that I encounter.

Today, there are those who are kicking and screaming as they join Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media. Their behavior is marked by so much reluctance and trepidation that I couldn’t help but create an adaptation of Kübler-Ross’ Five Stages of Grief model.

What follows, then, are The Five Stages Of “Good Grief, Do I Really Need To Be on Facebook?”


1. Denial and Isolation.

At first, we tend to deny that the expansion of Facebook, from high school and college students, has taken place. We may withdraw from our usual social-networking contacts. This stage may last a few moments, or longer, especially if someone “pokes” us or tries to goad us into a virtual snowball fight.

2. Anger.

The grieving person may then be furious at Al Gore for inventing the Internet (even though he never said he did), or at the cyber-world, for letting online social interactions happen. He may be angry with himself for ever getting an e-mail account, even if, realistically, nothing could have stopped it.

3. Bargaining.

Now the grieving person may make bargains, such as this one: “If I join Facebook, can I at least stop hearing about this thing called Twitter?”

4. Depression.

When prompted by the ridiculously open-ended “What’s on your mind?” or the terse command “Write something,” the person feels numb, although anger and sadness may remain underneath.

5. Acceptance.

This is when the anger, sadness and mourning have tapered off. The person simply accepts the reality that he will forevermore be in touch with hundreds, if not thousands, of people for the rest of his life. And what’s more, he actually likes it.

He starts a Fan Page of an obscure 16th-century poet.