I was innocently eating my dinner this evening when a story came on about a young man named Tyler Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers. Tyler was 18, shy, a great musician who had dreams of playing in an elite orchestra.
All of those dreams died with Tyler a week ago.
You see, Tyler’s roommate installed a webcam in their room, controlled it from a friend’s room, and captured Tyler in a homosexual encounter. The roommate then opted to blast the video out to the world via Social Media. Tyler killed himself.
If you feel uncomfortable about the issue of homosexuality, consider the story of Megan Meier, who committed suicide because the mother of a high school peer created an account on MySpace, pretended to be a boy, made Megan think “he” was in love with her, and then began taunting her cruelly, telling her the world would be better without her.
As a business person, as a professional, I have become highly involved in Social Media, but there are shadows lurking in this world, and those shadows are gruesome. They are tragic. They are, in fact, abhorrent.
I’ve talked a lot about the issue of influence on this blog. Now is the time to test your influence. After discussing this issue with @MissusP, @Grit08, and @TomMoradpour this evening, we would like to create a “town hall” chat regarding safety in Social Media. At a minimum, we’d like to create a hash tag that would begin to trend to draw attention to these issues.
At a maximum, we would use our combined influence and brains to determine how to make these tragedies stop. Who better than us, those who preach Social Media best practices? We are in it. We are of it.
Let’s make it right.
Please comment below when you would be available for this chat and any names you’d want to recommend for the chat and/or hash tag. Perhaps an existing chat would be willing to lend us their spot since week days tend to be good for people. Remember, in terms of chat names and hashtags, we need to keep the names short so that people can respond and retweet.
Thank you for your help with this. The time is now.
Image by Mateusz Stachowski. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Mattox