I've been in radio for a while, close to 30 years. One of my favorite things to do on the air is to wish friends and listeners a Happy Birthday, but with social media it's getting a little complicated and awkward. Why? Because some people on Facebook have passed away. I've seen people wishing others on Facebook a Happy Birthday when the person has died.  

It's been a fear of mine to say "Happy Birthday" online or on the air to someone that is no longer with us. I check my Facebook almost everyday to see who is having a birthday. I have also started visiting a person's actual page to make sure they are well, then I wish them a happy birthday online and on the radio.

One of my worst fears happened last week. Everyone on Facebook was wishing a mutual Facebook friend a wonderful birthday and I wished him a Happy Birthday on the air. To my horror I found out few minutes later that he had died last year.

With social media we may not know our Facebook friends as well as we would in person. So, how can we make sure that horrible situation of wishing someone a Happy Birthday when they have passed away doesn't happen?

Simple, as a family member or friend you can contact Facebook and request that the person's profile page be turned into a "Memorial Page." I did this for a close friend of mine that passed away a couple of years ago. By making their profile page a Memorial page, the page will still exist along with all the pictures. What will change is on the top of the page it will say "Remembering." Plus, being a memorial page no one will get a notification from Facebook saying "Wish this person a Happy Birthday" and therefore, people won't be put in that horribly awkward situation.

You can find out more information on memorializing a Facebook account here.

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