How social media encourages and prevents suicide

A new study offers some disturbing information on social media and suicide, but the author also says sites such as Twitter and Facebook offer hope.

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When the news spread, first on Mashable and then through the more traditional channels, people on Twitter and Facebook were astounded.

Though many didn’t know him in real life, they felt like they’d built a strong relationship with him on the social networks. Both his offline and online friends questioned whether they could have prevented it and lots of blog posts were written about the loss and about using social media to detect life-threatening depression.

Early last winter I was in Orlando on a Saturday speaking at the Retail Packaging Association show. I received an email from a friend, a direct message on Twitter from another friend, and a voicemail from a third friend—they were all worried about a fourth friend who was tweeting and updating Facebook with some alarming things.

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