I was reading when I heard a text message arrive. As I started to read the text, my eyes locked on three words -“Whitney Houston died.”  I thought… this MUST be a hoax – so I moved over to the computer to run a quick Google Search but sadly, the text was correct.

Speechless, I stood still as the tears started to flow (avid fan).

Oh, how I hoped the media and social web would remember Whitney Houston respectfully and not turn such a tremendous loss into a media and social media circus.

Character Matters

Within minutes of news breaking about  Whitney Houston’s untimely death, assumptions about what caused her death started popping up everywhere—television & cable channels, blogs and social media networks. Mashable noted how Twitter broke the news before mainstream media.  CNN reported:

“the first full hour after the news broke saw 2,481,652 tweets and retweets, peaking at 61,227 tweets at 5:23 p.m. (all times are PST),” according to Topsy.com, which indexes and ranks results based on the most influential conversations on social media.”

It seemed like everybody had an opinion about what led to Whitney Houston’s demise. Rumors and other incorrect information made their way around media and social networks (e.g., It was incorrectly reported that Ray J found her.)

What motivated some reporters, bloggers and social media users to roll up their digital sleeves and continue pelting Whitney Houston’s private life and public reputation is anyone’s guess, but how her passing is handled will reveal their character, the fundamental element of one’s reputation.

Fame Costs

Living in the public eye and working to perfect your craft has never been easy. You know this to be true because you can call out the names of various talented people who could be placed in the “gone too soon” category. But, lumping people into categories, or disrespecting their names won’t make their lives or contributions mean any less.

The digital times we live in can help you to filter out some of the noise and incessant chatter around the cause of Whitney Houston’s death so you can spend time remembering her music, her voice and her life. I wonder if we would be able to endure being treated as a public spectacle, having our highs and lows examined, magnified and recycled for prying eyes and the always – on world.

A mother lost her daughter. A daughter lost her mother. The world lost Whitney Houston, an incomparable voice.  Let’s give the Houston’s and those who adored Whitney Houston time to grieve – free of judgment and flashing lights. Give them time…to mend.

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