I’m just getting up to speed after a Labor Day weekend fraught with thought, the need for new direction, and some infusion of happy. That’s not going to be the case for awhile. Add in the fact my RIM Blackberry is not sending all my emails to the device and thus my shock at this morning’s news, courtesy of Spin Sucks.
Trey Pennington committed suicide Sunday on his church premises.
For those of you who didn’t know of Trey, he was a leader, mentor, and consummate storyteller. I had the privilege of sitting next to him when we presented to Social Slam in April in Knoxville. He spent his own funds to buy colorful bandanas for the entire conference – some 400 people.
When he told stories, they were always about his kids – five of them and two grandchildren. He absolutely loved his family, and only he and those close to him knew the reasons for a serious and horrific separation from his wife.
I am devastated. Not because I knew Trey as a friend, but because I knew him as a social media leader and influencer. In April, he was on top of the world; within four months, he has left our world.
Social media fuels image, reputation, credibility, influence, friendships, mentorships, opportunity, relationships, and interactions. Behind ALL of this, there are people asking for help or crying out for attention or sending hints of a downward spiral yet to come.
What can we do? Is it a Twitter buddy’s responsibility to ask the poignant questions that cross the line from 140 into personal space? And, then what do we do? I’m at a loss here.
I have a network of close-knit tweeps. When they’re absent for many days, I notice. After many weeks, I wonder. After more than many weeks, I worry, and then I begin to ask questions and pick up the phone. That’s my nature – to nurture.
The only thing I want to tell the Pennington clan is this – your dad was the absolute epitome of professionalism. He always welcomed the little guys and the newbies into his circles, and he did it with warmth that was heartfelt. When he spoke and shared, it always included you – his children, and there were always stories about your escapades to bring laughter to an audience.
I can’t know how you’re feeling today or the questions you have that will go unanswered. I am in shock, in tears, and devastated with this news. I’m sorry. I’m so terribly sorry.