Jason Schippers was a young man who may have not been famous by any stretch of the imagination, but he had a thriving community all of his own. Originally from Des Moines, Iowa, Jason became ill a few months ago while living in Colorado. Doctors were stumped. They knew he didn’t have cancer. He wasn’t a smoker. But his lung was failing. Approximately a week ago, they did an exploratory surgery to try and find the cause of the problems. They ended up removing more than half of his lung right then and there. Even that wasn’t enough to save this amazing person. He was taken from this life on Sunday morning.
My brother Adam is one of the friends devastated by this loss. Adam and Jason met via Twitter, and Adam helped him get his job in Colorado through Twitter. Even after making the move west, Jason remained an active participant in the Des Moines Twitter universe. By all accounts, Schippers was one of those people whom everyone liked – and whose loss will never fully heal.
Since his death, the outpouring of support online has astounded Jason’s family. Within moments of his death, hundreds of people began blogging, tweeting, and posting words of support and love on Facebook. Three full days later, the words have not slowed down… they have grown in number as more people learn of the story and lend their comfort to the cause. His family is overwhelmed and comforted by the love people are showing them… most of whom never met Jason in person.
Dallas Moore was a long-time friend and business associate of Jason’s. “People are becoming the authors of their own lives,” says Moore, who owns Social Republick, a creative marketing and new media business. “Thanks to smart phones and iPads and Wi-Fi notebooks, we’re constantly connected no matter where we are. It’s possible to build and maintain multiple relationships simultaneously around the world. No geographical constraints. Jason met many of these people in real life.”
A Twitter memorial Twibbon has been created to honor this young man and the awesome life that he led. Even though you may not have known Jason Schippers, please consider showing your support for those he left behind in this world. It only takes a moment to add the simple ribbon to your current Twitter avatar.
For any of you who still don’t quite get social communities and what they really mean, you have only to read Jason’s story. The astonishing response to Jason’s death will open your eyes to the strong – and very REAL – connections that are made online every second of every day.