July 08, 2003
In Japan, A Tragic New Type of Community of Purpose

CNN has a startlingly grim report about how, in Japan, people are using the Web and smart-mob technologies like SMS to organize and coordinate suicide pacts.

It’s hard to tell from the story how much of the surge in Japan’s suicide rate is being driven by these technologies, versus how much Japanese politicians are leaning on them as a convenient whipping boy on which to hang the blame for that surge. But it’s still a human tragedy whenever someone feels so hopeless that they decide suicide is the only way out, no matter how they reached that conclusion.

There’s been a lot of buzz of late about “social software”. If someone can develop software that can connect people not just to technology, but to hope — to something that reminds them that, no matter how bleak things may look at that moment, their life has value and importance in the broad sweep of humanity — then we’ll have something truly worthy of that name.

Posted by Jason Lefkowitz at July 08, 2003
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