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Suicide in Success, Race and Social Media

Suicide is one of those topics that is not talked about enough like AIDS, HIV, and other serious issues that should be discussed more openly instead how to get more twitter followers or increasing your klout score. Suicide in tech and social media has been a topic more recently in the past year with the deaths of Ilya Zhitomirskiy, co-founder of at the age of 22 and Trey Pennington which both sent shock waves to their colleagues and those who they had a relationship with online.

For the black/African-American community suicide is hardly a thought for most as there’s enough black on black crime doing it’s damage. But recently with the deaths of Don Cornelius and Whitney Houston it has been in the news. Still some African-Americans are looking for someone to blame as the cause of the person to commit suicide vs looking at life, stress, pressure in general. What’s even worse is if it’s a celebrity, funerals have become big money publicity stunts for media and other parties involved. It’s a damn shame. Think about Michael Jackson’s funeral even though he didn’t kill himself and no I didn’t watch his funeral activities or Whitney Houston’s. In Don Cornelius and the other 30,000 a year suicide cases that happen a lot of people ask why? Why would someone want to commit suicide. Then there’s the religious side of things for the faith based community. That a person is going to hell or won’t’ be let in the pearly gates if they do and that starts another debate. Regardless of why people commit suicide we know that stress and/or something in their life has cause a reaction to create a need to want to end it all. One of those reactions is the goal of success.

Success means something different to a lot of people. For many it’s money, or having material items or to be portrayed to have reached a status quo. For others it’s reaching a set of goals as to launching a company, completing task and/or being happy. But with the pressure of success and failures on the way to success it can create mountains of emotional turmoil that can lead for many, drinking, drugs, or other crazy activities to find an outlet to get away from everything. People are human, not robots and somewhere along the way it seems that we have forgotten about that and the line of judging others because you have a twitter, facebook, google+ or a blog gives everyone the right to judge others that can cause pressure that could lead to suicide. Just like how one status message can lead to job opportunity or a funding round it could also lead to someone’s death bed. You never know what mindset someone is in or what they’re going through.

Race, race, race. It’s a never ending topic. Honestly I’m tired of talking about race but as a black man trying to make a name for myself and others in a primary white male industry it’s tough. Now it’s not just the industry but it’s my area of residence. I’m now in San Francisco and you all know it’s far from North Carolina. Some of the stories I’ve been told over the past five days have been mind blowing along with some of the reactions I’ve seen. A guy told me the other day that he used to work in Cupertino and he could go 30 days without seeing another black person. Stories like that along with being looked at like you’re about to rob a bank just cause you walking down the street or being talked to like you just saw your first computer last week. It’s insulting and sad. I’m not crying racist, it’s just the culture and if people don’t see or are not familiar with an intelligent black/brown person they’re first reaction is to think about what they know and what they see. That in San Francisco is a lot of homeless black people. It is what it is and it sucks.

I want people to look and treat me and others as humans as the same as the next person but despite how much accomplishments one or few African Americans have made we still have a long way to go. You may not think so or may think everything is ok but as the saying goes. You’ll never know what it’s like unless you ……..

It’s crazy and stupid to see trending topics on twitter cause the riot police has been called because people are going crazy for a pair of shoes. Now I know everyone of those individuals are not black but majority are. What the hell are we doing people… my people? It’s 2012! If the shoes cost $250.00 and if 2,000 people take the $250 and put together that’s $500,000. That’s more than enough to fund or help get started 10 or more startups that could create jobs in the community. More on that in another rant post. I guess the same can be said for iPhone and other gadgets too.

Social Media.
Well… I don’t being like called a social media guy! But that’s my own fault. As an early adopter I used to call myself a social media strategist back in 2006 before 99% of the internet knew what twitter was and the sharks came. Guess I did a good job at marketing myself that but at the end of the day I’m an entrepreneur. Regardless what social media has done as the term has become main stream along with the platforms it has giving people a voice an outlet to say what’s on their mind at anytime. IMHO many shouldn’t say anything at all but we have the freedom of speech in America. Still as things continue to go from bad to worse kids are being bullied online, adults attacked verbally and the news media outlets covering it all just for a good story and ratings. It’s not going to change, only get worse. Like I’ve said years ago and in this post. Think before you post online and everyone is human. Put yourself in anyone shoes before you start attacking or judging. Music artist, actors, kids, family members, black, white, brown or whatever we’re all human.

Back to Suicide
Honestly, suicide is something I think about almost everyday. I’ve thought about it over the years. I think about it as an outlet to get away from life pressures from family expectations, online expectations, regrets and pain from the past or just wanting to reach goals now. I think about everything I wish I would have done different from instead of spending hours on twitter to learning how to code in 2006. From business deals and relationships. From making scarifies and moving hoping to make it big so one day my son will have a better life. From worrying about society and what other people will say. From just being tired. Despite what people may see online or I share, life is not a box of chocolate. Like I said on the CNN documentary, I won’t’ success so bad it hurts. As for me, what I consider success is not just money although that does help. It’s reaching a goal to be in a position where I can make a difference in the world to have impact to change hearts, minds and lives for the greater good of mankind. That drives me. I know it won’t come overnight and just like past years where I thought about suicide I would have a milestone saying, let’s see how this works or get to that point and go from there.

For now life continues as I deal with striving for success, breaking down racial barriers and using social media for the great good in the next chapter of my life.

Yep, I having a bad day but all will be well. Keep moving forward and if you’re thinking about suicide please find an outlet and someone to talk to immediately.

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