Remembrance is a project generated during Facebook's Employee Hackathon, Space Camp 2016. It is a dedicated space on Memorialized Profiles designed to provide those in mourning with a place to grieve, commemorate, and share memories of a loved one who has passed. We were awarded a Judge's Choice Award at the Space Camp's Prototype Forum, and were given the chance to present Remembrance to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, CTO Mike Schroepfer, CPO Chris Cox, and VP of Engineering Jay Parikh.
Livestream · August 2, 2016
While usually internal-only, Space Camp's Prototype Presentation was livestreamed from Zuck's Facebook Page. This gave us the rare opportunity to receive feedback from Mark, as well as open up Remembrance to an audience of 3.8 million viewers. We received an overwhelmingly positive response from the Livestream audience. Viewers shared with us their own experiences of mourning on Facebook, and how they would utilize Remembrance.
"It might be Morbid (sic), but for those that are terminal, it would be great to know Remembrance is there and you will be remembered."
"That's a good idea. I had a friend who passed away and every time people post comments, you kind of want something more personal for them."
'Love the Remembrance feature - a place for people who have lost a family/friend to mourn, support, remember, heal, and be restored ... might help those realize that the sun is still indeed shining and life still has a purpose and a future."
Vanessa Callison-Burch, Product Manager (Consultant)
Me, Product Design Intern
James Wu, Engineer
Zola Bridges, Engineering Intern
Tiffany Jiang, Product Design Intern
Nivedita Chopra, Engineer
Chris Lee, Engineering Intern
Jordan Brown, Engineering Intern
The visual design and engineering of Remembrance took place during a three day Hackathon, but we spent the week prior learning all we could about the problem space, and finding Remembrance's place within Facebook - physically and conceptually.
We began by analyzing how people currently use Facebook to grieve. The grieving process usually includes posting on the deceased's Timeline: sharing photos, personal thoughts, and anecdotes. People comment on other's posts, to add a relevant story. Over time, however, these posts seem to get jumbled on Timeline and cause confusion. Potentially more harmful, they will surface in Newsfeed and trigger users who are not on Facebook to grieve at that time.
We were lucky enough to work with Jed Brubaker, one of the primary researchers on death on social media. We studied Jed's relevant work and had the chance to sit down with him on campus and flesh out our ideas. If you are interested in Jed's research, visit www.jedbrubaker.com to learn more.
From our research, we determined what makes Facebook a unique place to grieve. Profiles serve as live record of a person, documenting live in a way that is possible nowhere else. When someone on Facebook dies, this Profile transforms into an archive, allowing users to dig though memories, photos, thoughts, relationships, a whole life documented. While funerals are a specific time and place to mourn, for a specific group of people, anyone can interact with the deceased and their loved ones on Facebook- at any time. From moments afterwards, to years later.
The motivations driving these interactions in the grieving process are somewhat antithetical. While most posts are addressed directly to the deceased, rather than to a family member or to no one in particular (like one may do in a eulogy), the notion of collective grief and community support was central. This led us to think: Is there a way to foster both the themes of dedication and togetherness?
We next investigated Facebook's current efforts in the area. Legacy Contact is a feature where people can set up a friend to take limited control over their account. Because Remembrance is a feature to be set up by the Legacy Contact, it was crucial that we understood nearly everything about this user: Who are they? How are they selected? What access do they have to the memorialized account? What burdens do they now face, from the deceased's family, friends, and from themselves? With all of our research to build upon, we began to develop Remembrance.