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Steve Brooks
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Founder / Manager
Northern California - United States
3742 Posts

Profile of Steve Brooks
In today’s world of internet, smart phones and tablets, most of us now possess the tools to use words that will reach people around the globe instantly. With social media platforms like Facebook, various chat rooms and online forums such as our Café community readily available, there is seemingly an inexhaustible amount of tools with which people can interact with each other and on a scale never before seen in human history.

When used in a positive manner the words and information we choose to share online can be a tool for learning and a form of encouragement to those reading them, or at the opposite end of the spectrum be extremely harmful indeed.

While online, many of us may have a tendency to say something without any real thought. We may actually believe that what we are saying is right and the words we are typing will help. The fact is, we can still cause damage with our words – painful damage.

We may be challenging a person’s way of thinking or their actions. While we are apparently speaking the same language, words can still be misinterpreted or misread. Sometimes clarification or further questioning is really needed to understand the true meaning behind the words. So, despite our best intentions, we can still cause a lot of pain with the words we choose to use.

In that light you can certainly understand why I encourage all Magic Café users to take a few minutes and read Some posting guidelines… which is an article I wrote back in 2002.

Basically, I’m giving the reader a few things to consider prior to typing any postings. I sincerely believe that if more Café users would actually take my words seriously and exercise a bit more caution when interacting within our online community that doing so would definitely help in derailing many of the problems that often occur between Café members.

Having said all of that I realize that many of you may be wondering why I chose to send this message out today. Well, to be honest, it was something I was thinking of doing anyway due to an ever increasing amount of pointless arguments which often occur in our Café community. With our membership numbers rising daily the occurrence of member disputes seems to be happening more frequently as of late.

However, truth be told I decided to send this message due to an incident which occurred in our community yesterday.

With the relatively recent arrival of interactive communications many people (especially vulnerable youngsters) have become instantly attracted to the idea that their lives can be made better in the online world as opposed to life at home.
The sad truth is that anyone who is depressed or has emotional issues at home is only bringing their baggage with them to the Internet.

That said, one of our troubled young people chose to post a suicide note here on the Café and on his Facebook page. I understand this same note was also posted on a number of other forums which this young man frequented. Shortly thereafter he did indeed end his own life. Out of respect I’ll not give his name here.

How tragic. My heart goes out to his family and friends.

I was not aware of this incident until late last night. One of my moderators had deleted this member's post (and rightfully so) and the information was given to me later via a private message.

Why this youngster chose to end his own life is anyone’s guess and the real answers may truly never be known.

Could anyone here have really made a difference? I doubt it. Many of our Café members knew him personally and did their very best to help this young man who I understand had been troubled for quite some time.

Now, Magic Café members who interacted with him on a daily basis need to remember that we as a community are not to blame for this tragic incident.

This is not the first time we have lost members. Some have passed away due to natural causes, others by sickness or accidents. Life is made of meetings and partings, that is just the way of things.

However, this time was a bit different it seems – this time it was one of our own that chose to end his life and at such a very young age. This time it feels personal.

While I did not have the opportunity to read his last posts I understand that several members responded to his posts in a sarcastic and uncaring manner – how very sad that others would choose to be so unkind.

Perhaps this incident will make folks give pause and think about the words they choose to use. After all, if you do not have anything nice to say, perhaps its better to remain silent? Something to think about me thinks.

Finally, I’ll close now by leaving you to consider these sage words from the philosopher Plato who once said; “Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something

"Always be you because nobody else can" - Steve Brooks
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