No, this is not another commentary on the desperate publicity stunt exhibited by Miley Cyrus and the ensuing media frenzy over whether her reputation will ever recover.
This reflection involves another kind of desperation: the tragic, public suicide of a social media icon who appeared – on screen – to be surrounded by “friends” and “followers.” Sadly, Trey Pennington could not find the real-life human resources to help him combat loneliness and depression. He took his own life on a Sunday morning, leaving six children, a wife, and a successful career behind. He had 100,000+ followers on Twitter, 1,841 likes on Facebook, and was in 831 Google+ circles.
Multiple writers lamented how so many knew his persona, but so few truly knew him personally.
Blogger Marissa Gagnier reflected, “In social media, we have a tendency to hide our true feelings and post breaking news instead. Our “image” comes before our life …”
But wait. Hasn’t social media brought us new ways to “connect” and “engage?”
Even social media “strategist” Jay Baer was left rethinking his philosophy that “interacting with more people is inherently better than interacting with fewer people … today, I’m no longer convinced.”
Baer’s conclusion? Despite all hopes, technology and our use of it has failed, fundamentally, to bring us closer together. “In fact, it may be driving us father apart, as we know more and more people, but know less and less about each of them,” he said.
~ Rachel E. Dewey