LegacyConnect: Pioneering the Meaningful Side of Social Media

Legacy.com was founded in 1998 with the mission to bring obituaries online. By 2008 Legacy had become the leader in online memorials, with hundreds of thousands of obituaries from our newspaper partners in our database, and millions of unique monthly visitors who came to our site each month to read the obituaries and leave messages in the accompanying Guest Books. By most measures, Legacy had succeeded in its mission.

But, as our company has learned over the years, being the leader in online obituaries means much more than hitting the numbers.

An obituary is not just a data point; each obituary Legacy hosts represents a person’s life – and death.

Unique visitors are people, and any person visiting our site may be someone who has just lost a parent, spouse or child.

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At Legacy we wanted to do more to support the grieving people who visit our site everyday. After all, Legacy is not just a website: it is a place where life stories live on – both through the work that we do and, more importantly, through the interactions of the people who read the obituaries, sign our Guest Books, share photos and memories, and even “talk” to their departed loved ones through the messages they post.

So in 2008 Legacy launched LegacyConnect, a free grief support site open to all who are grieving or looking for information about coping with the death of a loved one.

We began with the idea that most people who visit Legacy.com have recently lost someone important to them. What do people coping with loss need?

  • They need someone to listen.
  • They need a safe place to share their pain.
  • They need trusted advice, perhaps on what to expect through the grieving process or how to talk to their children about death.
  • Many times, it seems, what the bereaved need most is a hug.

And at LegacyConnect, that’s just what they find. LegacyConnect features different ways for people to connect and share their stories, from public discussion forums to private support groups to real-time chat and messaging. The site also includes blogs and articles from experts on loss and grief, as well as lists of resources to help people get the information they need.

At its heart, LegacyConnect is a community of survivors, a place where the bereaved can share their stories and get the ‘hugs’ they need. People from all over the world come together on LegacyConnect to support each other through some of the most painful experiences they will ever face. When someone new joins, they are welcomed. “Legacy friends” share kind words and bits of advice to help each other get through the day. They listen to and support one other. They check in when a friend has been quiet too long.

On LegacyConnect community members help each other through tough times but they also celebrate together. Through pain and shared experiences, friendships are forged. Legacy friends (some even call themselves “family”) share birthday wishes and favorite recipes, photos of grandchildren and health updates. Over time, they not only cry together, they laugh together too. 

Legacy started LegacyConnect as a place for people to grieve together. Over the years we've added new ways for members to connect and share: in 2009 we introduced support groups that allow members to create and manage their own discussions around particular topics; in 2012 we added photo sharing tools so that members can more easily share photo memories; after Legacy acquired Tributes.com in early 2015, we combined resources to make a better experience for LegacyConnect members and visitors.

But at Legacy we know that it’s truly the members – 20,000+ and growing – who have made LegacyConnect the kind, inspiring and connected community it has become, and will continue to welcome and embrace all who are grieving.


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