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Monday, September 5, 2011

Trey Pennington: Life and Loss in Twitterverse

It was communicated on Twitter and Google that Trey Pennington took his life yesterday. It has been a sad day in the twitterverse. We are a community, a tribe and we hurt and mourn when we lose one of our own.

Much has been written and spoken about our need to be transparent in our writing and living. But are we? If you go to Mr. Pennington’s webpage (www.treypennington.com), you can see that he was “liked” by almost 1,500 people. Most of the people in the pictures appear to be bright and smiling and happy.

If you look at his twitter numbers:
He was well-loved and respected. Well, he was well-followed.

But what does that really mean? Are we online the same person that we are in real life? Or is our online persona only a shadow of the person we wish we could be; a sham. We’d all love to be and look confident, brave, large and in-charge. But for most of us, our lives just aren’t like that, they are much smaller. Do we pretend to be online super-heroes, while inside we are still that cowering child stuck in the elementary school playground with no friends?

In the online universe we can all look smart, strong and confident. If this is not who we (you and I) really are, when do we get to be ourselves? When do we get to say, “God I am having a crappy day?”
I did not know Trey Pennington, but enjoyed reading his posts and learned from him. He touched my life and probably yours if you’re reading this. How many of us touched his?

Most of us prance in and out of each other’s lives 140 characters at a time. We follow and unfollow at the click of a button. We put people on lists we never look at. We search out new services to hide from the uninitiated, the less sophisticated, the “others.”

Where is the social engagement in social media? Perhaps it is just like the real (corporate) world, and we just climb over each other, and never look back at the damage left in our wake.

I think it is different in our little universe, or better I hope and pray that it is different. We shall see. Time will tell us.

I didn’t know Trey Pennington, but I hope hope he has found the peace he sought, but could not find. RIP.

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