It is no surprise that the death of celebrities such as Michael Jackson, or honored as political figures of the United States diplomat Richard Holbrooke, are promoted as an international Web events. So, too, was the memorial service for six people killed 8 January in Tucson, which had thousands of spectators on the Web.
But now the funerals of once-private and memorials of less-noted citizens online are also underway.
Several software companies have created easy to use programs to help meet the funeral for the victims ' families. FuneralOne a one-stop shop for online memorials is based in St Clair, Michigan, has seen the number of funeral offering that Webcast increase 1053 in 2010, from 126 in 2008 (also sells Digital DVD giveaway).
During the same period, event by wire, a competitor in Half Moon Bay, California, has watched the number of funeral services, streaming live jump from 80 to 300. And this month, the Houston International Service Corporation, which owns 2000 funeral and cemeteries, including the venerable Funeral Chapel of the Frank e. Campbell on Manhattan's Upper East Side, said that he was conducting a pilot Webcasting program 16 of his funeral.
Travel to funeral was once an important family of ritual, but with increasing secularism and an increasingly mobile population disconnected from the original Hometowns, watching an online funeral can seem better not to go to a funeral at all. Social media, too, have redesigned the municipal boundaries of what is acceptable when their parents, siblings, friends and acquaintances.
"We are in a society that YouTube now," said h. Joseph Joachim IV, founder of FuneralOne. "People who live more than ever, and this reflects that."
Some funeral streaming Web reflect the following major collections from individuals. 11 January, more than 7,000 people watched the funeral of Santa Ana, California, Debbie Friedman, an iconic singer whose music combined Hebrew text with the rhythm of folk music. Has been seen on Ustream, a Web video service, with more than 20,000 on-demand viewing in the days that followed.
"We're going to look at a couple of minutes, but ended up look almost the entire thing," said Noa Kushner, Rabbi of San Anselmo, California and an avid music MS. Friedman, who watched the service with a friend in his Office. "I was moved as well."
After Stefanie Spielman, a breast cancer activist and wife of the popular National Football League player Chris Spielman, died in 2009, the Spielmans wanted a private ceremony, attended by 900 friends and family, said Lajos Szab?, Chief Strategy Officer's funeral and cremation service Schoedinger in Columbus, Ohio, who organized the funeral. But they also host members of the public, who wanted to support the family in his pain. Streaming live and published on-line, funeral of MS. Spielman was seen 4,663 times by 2.942 visitors since November 2009, according to FuneralOne.
Other webcasts are more obscure, but no less appreciated. Two weeks ago, a friend of Ronald Rich, a volunteer firefighter in Wallace, N.C., died suddenly. When Mr. Rich called the mother of his friend to say they couldn't make the eight-hour drive to the funeral because a snowstorm has threatened to close the roads, said that the mother offered to send an e-mail invitation, so that he could watch the online service. Mr. Rich said he watched the funeral: first by himself and a second time with his girlfriend.
"It was comforting to me," he said, adding that he planned to watch it again with fellow firefighters.
Technology to make the funeral online has been around for a decade, but has been slow to catch on with an industry understandably sensitive to issues of etiquette. Some funeral directors shunning funeral live streaming, because they don't want to replace the human experience with one lone digital city, said John Reed, President of the national funeral directors Association. Other funeral directors worry that if the video quality is poor, it will reflect badly on the funeral home.
And the conversation about whether a funeral online streaming can be inconvenient, especially if a family affected by bereavement is suspicious of technology. Funeral directors are conservatives, said Mr. Reed; privacy, also for the generation of Facebook, is crucial. "We don't jump on the first thing that comes along," he said.
Still, some funeral directors provide the service for free (Mr. Reed is one of them) while others charge $ 100 to $ 300. If a family wants to keep the private online service, the guests obtain a password that allows access. (Mr. Joachim said 94 percent of funerals that his company Webcast was not protected by password).