Paean

Dieter Mueller

(28 April 1967 – 24 November 2014)

dieter-mueller-paean

My friendship with Dieter Mueller was brief, intense, and abstracted by his decision to end his life in the early hours of 24 November 2014.

We encountered each other in discussions on the Google Plus social media platform, and were drawn to one another by our mutual interest in debating what we saw as the big issues facing Western societies.

For two years we spurred each other on to inject serious essays and commentary into the shallow pools of endlessly re-shared, cutesy images, of idiotic fortune cookie one-liners posing as inspirational wisdom, and of the Silicon Valley hucksterism that passes as social media marketing nous.

It was our premiss that what was then a relatively new forum did not inevitably have to descend into a stagnant pool of spam and asinine crap.

We thought that talking about real issues in rational terms would connect a sufficient number of people willing to be thoughtful to carve out a sane corner in at least one social network. We were wrong. People online behave much as they do offline: politically apathetic, mean-spirited, willfully ignorant, and pathologically narcissistic. But it was a hell of a ride.

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