Recently I've been considering whether or not I like getting bad news through social networks like Facebook or Twitter. Part of that thoughtfulness is because over the past few years I've gotten bad news through those two social networking icons. The death of a cousin and a friend come to mind.
Last week I got news that a close friend of the family died and the person who called me said they didn't want me to read about it on Facebook first. I'm not sure I would have, but posted the link to that's friend's obituary on Facebook anyway damn the consequences. I guess I could justify it a bit by telling you it was particularly flattering and treated the friend as valued as they should have been.
I believe there is a place for social networks to spread some news, but when it's really personal or close to a family you should weigh the pros and the cons first. If it's going to hurt someone you love it's better to pick up the phone and keep it between you. That also goes for photographs and video of a person.
Being a news reporter I can tell you that stories about those in the publiceye are fair game, but that shouldn't extend to friends and family with Facebook and Twitter being means to do it.