Apr 25, 2017

Our social networks live on after we die

Anthony Walker / U.S. Army Photo

Posting photos on Facebook for our friends and colleagues might not be a waste of time, as a new study shows our social networks appear to stay intact even after we die.

Why it matters: The study is the first-ever large-scale effort to look at the resilience of a person's social network — online or off — after his or her death. The researchers found increased interactions after someone died of cancer or an accident and less frequent communication after suicide or other causes that have stigma attached to them.

Our thought bubble: How does posting about or tagging someone in a photo translate into support? Can our online relationships be relied on in real life — and does that even matter?

Methodology: Researchers looked at 15,000 anonymized Facebook networks involving 770,000 people to see how resilient human social structures were after the person at the center of them died. They found friends of the deceased not only stayed engaged, they actually increased their ties to each other afterwards, often for years. Close friends interacted 30% more than usual in the month after a mutual friend's death. Their contact waned after that month but even 2 years later they were interacting about 3% more when compared to networks of friends who hadn't suffered a loss.

Interesting detail: 18-24 year olds increased their social network interactions most after a death of a mutual friend or colleague.

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What top CEOs fear telling America about the coronavirus shutdown

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Top CEOs, in private conversations and pleas to President Trump, are warning of economic catastrophe if America doesn't begin planning for a phased return to work as soon as May, corporate leaders tell Axios.

Why it matters: The CEOs say massive numbers of companies, big and small, could go under if business and government don't start urgent talks about ways groups of workers can return.

Health care workers vs. the coronavirus

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images, Bruce Bennett/Getty Images, and Europa Press News/Europa Press via Getty Images

Health care workers are at an especially high risk of catching the coronavirus, because of their prolonged exposure to patients who have it. Making matters worse, the U.S. doesn't have enough of the protective equipment, like masks and gloves, that keeps them safe.

And yet these workers, with loved ones of their own, keep showing up at hospitals across the country, knowing that more Americans than they can possibly care for are depending on them.

Go deeperArrow40 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus crisis tests Trump’s love for cheap oil

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

President Trump is working to help an oil industry imploding as the coronavirus crisis chokes demand, but listen closely and you’ll hear his enduring love for cheap prices.

Why it matters: He’s like most Americans, who worry about energy only when it’s expensive or gone. As president, Trump has been slow and uneven in responding to the sector’s turmoil because of his inclination to cheer rock-bottom prices.