Just wanted to share something that the CEO of the company I’m interning with tweeted the other day. Kinda sums up the impact of social media, kinda mindblowing.
I love finding stuff like this through random tweets. And I frequently do. The other day I somehow stumbled across National Geographic’s prediction for the most typical person in the world.
I was slightly disappointed that it wasn’t a woman. Always had the impression there were more women than men in the world. Oh well maybe that’s just in Russia.
Anyway the web works in tangled ways. There is an amazing amount of information floating out there, connected in seemingly bizarre and unrelated ways. I just have to give an example, which left me slightly disturbed in many many ways and illustrated how the technology is literally creeping into every aspect of our lives.
I read the blog of Penelope Trunk (you can also find her blog on my blog roll, its called the brazen careerist) and in one her posts she mentioned that Bill Zeller , the programmer who created Mytunes committed suicide. He left a 4000 word essay of a suicide note explaining the reasons behind his decision.
Well curiosity killed the cat. I clicked on the link. I read the whole thing with the fascination of someone who can’t help but stare at the horrific car accident on the side of the road as they pass it by.
It is a very hopeless letter as you can imagine. But how do you think the letter got online in the first place? Bill Zeller sent it via email and apparently he also put it up on his website before hand. And that’s what kinda scares me. The fact that an intensely personal thing like that can circulate globally. What effects will/does it have on other people? Will it help anyone or will it make someone think that suicide is justified in certain circumstances? Or is it both?
I guess what I’m trying to say is;
Social media seems to breed willingness to share the most intimate information. It can offer what face to face interaction cannot. An outlet for despair you might say. The web (if its uncensored) gives you the ability to speak and be heard, and yes, judged while maintaining complete anonymity. You can test drive your most secret hidden dark thoughts and check the responses to see if it might be alright to say these things out loud and get help and support.
In Bill Zeller’s case, the greatest tragedy is that he had the opportunity to do that, to see that many people had gone through the same thing. He could have gotten help. But he didn’t wait.