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19-year old commits suicide on Justin.tv | November 21, 2008

This past Wednesday, a 19-year old boy commit suicide and broadcast the event in real time on video site Justin.tv. Apparently he was egged on by fellow forum users. So he overdosed on camera. Several hours of live footage later, people realized he might be serious. They watched live as the EMTs broke down his door. After his death was confirmed many of the posts were taken down. But footage is still available in some places. I don’t want to post it here.

I wrestled for a while with writing this. I try to keep this blog upbeat and inspirational. So I didn’t really know where this story fit. But I decided I need to talk about it. We talk a lot about the power and benefits of social media. How collective intelligence and the wisdom of crowds yields such rich end results. We have built this generation’s encyclopedia from our collective intelligence. But, we don’t really talk much about the dangers. I think this death is a jarring reminder that nothing is black and white. Power can always be abused.

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