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ImageI knew very little about Eric Spicer.

He was a marketer who pitched himself as a motivational speaker and a social networking consultant. Twitter is full of guys like him.

I never met the man. But tonight, I think of Eric.

For years, I’ve wondered about social media, and its purpose. My personal Facebook page is updated carefully, and like my Twitter feed, it offers only a glimpse into my personal life. I’ve reasoned that if 1,500 people follow me on those two social media platforms, it’s better to be reserved.

I decided to go pruning, and went through the list of nearly 800 people I followed on Twitter. I started to cut away at the long list of people I’ve never corresponded with. There were liberal activists, right-wing zealots, one-issue blowhards, and a couple of random sports fans in states I’ve never visited. There were also plenty of accounts that had gone more than a year without a single update. Unfollow, unfollow, unfollow. The chopping was pathetically easy.

But I was stopped in my tracks twice. The first time, it was when I found my dad, who rarely ever tweeted. In fact, the official Twitter stat book on Thomas Reich is closed: He tweeted three times before he died last year. Twice he wanted to wish President Clinton a Happy Birthday.

The only other time I froze? When Spicer’s @speaker99 account came up. He was a prolific tweeting machine. He was friendly. And while he was hardly controversial, Spicer’s absence should have been obvious. But in the noise that is social media, I didn’t notice the man had been silenced. That’s on me.

It turns out Spicer died of a heart attack only a couple of weeks after we exchanged pleasantries about pumpkin spice coffee, and whether it was socially acceptable to drink it after Halloween. More than two years have passed, and I remember the brief discussion.

I’m not much into listening to motivational speakers. I’m driven. That’s never been a problem.

But tonight, Eric, you inspired me to update this site for the first time since I posted my dad’s eulogy.

This writer thanks you.

And thanks for the conversation. Clearly it meant something after all.

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