Your life — and death — online

There are so many people spending their lives in front of video cameras — not just on sites like YouTube but on thousands of discussion forums and chat rooms across the Internet — that the surprising thing isn’t how many people choose to die in front of their webcams, it’s how few. Liz Gannes at NewTeeVee has the story of a young man who was talking to other members of a chat-room on a bodybuilding forum and said he had taken an overdose of medication, posted a suicide note and then collapsed on his bed. Several concerned viewers called police, who broke down the door and found the young man, and friends later confirmed that he was dead. A tragic end to a young life, all captured on film. It used to be that killing yourself on camera meant doing it on the evening news — when I was in journalism school, I remember a state official in Pennsylvania putting a gun to his head during a press conference and pulling the trigger, and our class debating whether TV shows should have run the film. Now anyone can have a camera, and broadcast their death to as many people as choose to watch.

8 thoughts on “Your life — and death — online

  1. dag…. that is tragic. It's so easy when you get in a hole to think you'll never see the sun again. People feeling connected 24/7 but lonelier too, and the holiday season sometimes exacerbates it 🙁

  2. This sent chills through my spine to think that he broadcasted it for everybody to view. But I guess he was so self-enveloped he didn't think about the impact it might have on the other chatters. Also, like antje said, such a shame that he was connected with other people but still felt so useless.

  3. Wow… I was in quite a good mood until i read that… I do agree with you thats its suprising that more people have not done it given the amount of people online these days and the “celebrity” even in death that it obviously brings… It just sickens me that people actually encouraged him to do it and not try to help… there are some seriously sick people in this world!

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