Part 1: A Memorial and Publicly Private Struggles

It’s two days now, and Robin Williams’ death still affects me at a core level.

I know it seems silly – I… we… don’t even truly know the man.  I can hear the internet trolls and critics lamenting the pathetic idolization of actors, the intense opinions on suicide (in general), and other (more wretched and disgusting) responses.  I can hear them in my thoughts, and don’t even need to see them, because they appear within every sensational news item across the net from the dark, the negative, the empathy-less devil’s advocate, the super-concerned, the angry, and hurt, the cruel, and the shh-stirrers.  Often, it’s we who quietly manage communities, forums, social media accounts, and other digital landscapes, and I have found that, although I can be desensitized – PERSONALLY – by this behavior, it doesn’t mean it’s completely whitewashed from my soul.

The truth is, there are so many topics to call to attention regarding the life, and the death, of Robin Williams. Here’s one of them (the second I wish to cover is in the upcoming Part 2):

The Power of Inspiring Souls

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Many of you probably don’t know that blogging really kicked off my career (thanks to guidance from Joi Podgorny). It’s how I met the marvelous Amy Pritchard, and Metaverse Mod Squad. My blog centered on the power of youth, and how brands needed to recognize the magic and possibility that happens when that power is acknowledged, engaged, and encouraged.  Beyond my immediate family, I had two heroes in my childhood: Punky Brewster (peer) and Robin Williams (idol).  Ask yourself – if you were going to count those, along your life’s path, who unveiled opportunities, dreams, and inspired passion for you… would that include an actor, a TV show, a book, a toy, a gadget, a creator, a brand? (Seriously, feel free to share in the comments!)

And, in regards to Mr. Williams himself… have you seen the outpouring tales of kindness he’s quietly displayed through the years, from the people he connected with?!  It seems like his rapid-fire quick wit was only matched by his constant displays of decency and love.  He had an affect on people, and it was shining and lovely, and it seems a damn shame that his light was only truly celebrated after his terrible demise.

Most children have entertainment-based idols, because of exposure, and the strange  (sometimes questionable) value of celebrity, and the magic that comes from entertainment. It’s a fact.  I’m not ashamed of its impact on me, but I do want to emphasize the importance of VALUE provided within that development. Parents, if you identify this behavior in your child, help identify the positives and the aspirational elements that can give your child personal passion.  If you work for a company that creates content for consumption: you have an opportunity to do great things for people, please don’t forget that.  Community — listen to it, understand it, embrace it, and celebrate it, and it can do big things for you, if you allow it.  Take the chance to be something great.

For me? This blog post is as close as I’ll ever get to thank you.  It’s sad, but it’s heartfelt.

Stay Tuned for Part 2, covering the publicly private struggles.

Izzy Neis
Director of Engagement and Strategy

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Talk Back

Posted on August 14, 2014

Some may say I’m just another fan and that I don’t know who these actors really are. They’re just playing a role on a movie screen. But the question is, are we any different? We are all actors playing a role in this reality world. We have our own script that we write and it starts from listening and watching others, then we build our own character on who we want to portray. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how much someone knows about you, but what matters is what type of impact you made on their life that really matters. Even if it’s a negative or positive experiences it’s something we can learn and gain from. So stay humble and be true to yourself. As long as you feel you’re doing right by you then nobody has the right to judge you, because people change through life experiences.

Posted on August 13, 2014

“Take the chance to be something great.” Somebody send this to Justin Bieber, stat!

Posted on August 13, 2014

I was stunned. I don’t care about the naysayers. It’s not unusual to find role models in celebrities especially when they are not only great at their craft, but also intelligent, caring, generous people. And Robin Williams appears to have been all of that and more.

Posted on August 13, 2014

Inspiring souls walk all walks of life. With Robin Williams we lost a great one but luckily he left the world with a body of work that will inspire many for decades to come. We may have lost the man but his soul shines through each one of his performances and it spreads joy.

Posted on August 13, 2014

I’m like you, Izzy. The death of Robin Williams has struck me profoundly. I remember as a very young kid watching Mork and Mindy (I even have a picture of the two of us wearing screen printed Mork shirts). I loved his humor, his energy, and the love he seemed to have for making people happy. Dead Poets Society is one of my absolute favorite movies, and seeing Robin in dramatic rolls proved how much depth he had, and it was beautiful. Good Morning, Vietnam is another one that I’ve always loved. Not only was it an hysterical comedy, but a very raw and dramatic movie as it went along, not mincing the horrors of that war. The heartwarming silliness of Mrs. Doubtfire and The Birdcage were also enjoyable, and of course his incredible voicework in Aladdin. I’m not just sad about his passing, but sad about the pain he felt which was so unbearable. The loss is so profound, it’s difficult to put into words.

Get On Your Soapbox