The beauty and sadness of social media

This week for me brought to light what makes social media so great. But conversely, it also showed me or allowed me to share in the pain and sadness of the passing away of someone who made a difference in the lives of many.

Andrew Bourland, the co-founder of ClickZ passed away this week  after battling cardiomyopathy, a form of heart disease.

Bourland was also the former publisher and CEO of ClickZ.  In 1997, He and Ann Handley, founded ClickZ  to cover the Internet advertising and marketing sector.

Andrew Bourland also had, his blog where he covered everything from blogging and email marketing to video marketing and viral advertising.   But back in November, he did something amazing; similar to Randy Pausch he used his blog to announce that his heart condition was worsening, stemming from having radiation treatments to treat testicular cancer many years before, and that he wasn’t sure how much longer he might have.

He subsequently had posts from him, his brother and his wife, who all chronicled his remaining time with family and friends and loved ones.

It was painful, it was joyful, it made me cry, it made me smile;  but most of all, it dawned on me that this very private time was there to be shared by anyone and everyone. Social media, specifically this blog, had allowed us to share in the life and times of Andrew Bourland.  Andrew Bourland and his family had allowed it. They let us in. For me, these are truly amazing times. Thank you for that Andrew.

9 thoughts on “The beauty and sadness of social media

  1. Nice and thoughtful piece. Thanks. The new media are so overwhelmed by individuals trying to grab the brass ring of viral relevance, it is rewarding to see a simple piece that reminds us to reflect about what REALLY matters.

  2. I agree, Tim. I think so many times I hear people talk about technology putting distance between people. But I believe it can be the exact opposite. Here’s an example where people are brought together by technology to honor the life and death of an industry colleague, husband, father, and brother. Thanks for sharing this, Marc.

  3. Beautiful post to remind everyone that Social Media is more than the next Media in Marketing and Advertising. It is a place for community, family and friends to support, share and connect despite physical distance.

  4. A blog is indeed a blog… as pure and innocent it can be. If only we could remove a little commercialization from blogs, the blogosphere could have been a lot better. I always felt blogs have been commercially exploited too much, to the point it is losing its authenticity of the purpose it was first created for.

    Likewise in Singapore, we started the year with the loss of a blogger to cancer and in an amazing display of strength & courage, she pledged her body to the cancer research after her passing. Everything’s documented on her blog, when she’s too weak to blog on her own. It’s still being updated by her surviving husband.

    Feel free to read through: (even though the archives can be really heart-wrenching)

    On a more casual note, don’t all these passing of people remind us of how short (and precious) our time on earth can be?

  5. After I relapsed on testicular cancer and got cancer for the 2nd time, I created a blog. I really had no idea why I started it.

    Found it turned out to have a few benefits:

    1) Friends, family, and those intersted can get instant updates as to how my treatment is going & how I’m doing

    2) Others with cancer & testicular cancer can use it as a reference of what to expect, how treatment may work for them, and us cancer patients can ping each other for advice

    3) Updates my employer as to what’s going on (pretty open / agile environment)

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