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
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.
Director of Engagement and Strategy
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