Sting belt out Roxanne at Ravinia. Relegated to lawn seats, I craned my neck around the entrance of the pavilion to catch a glimpse. The large screens on either side of the stage reflected a solitary figure with guitar in hand. He was in complete control. The words came out almost effortlessly, but the sound and quality was unmistakable. The crowd swayed back and forth, jumping up and down. Thousands of hands raised, and voices sang along. After all these years, he was still at the very top.
This morning I crawled into the car at five AM to make the lonely trip to the hospital. As I turned off my block and onto a larger street, I was again struck by a solitary figure. He had a backpack, shorts, and a large brimmed hat. He walked in the middle of the empty street, and as I passed I caught a glimpse of his face. He was staring toward the sunrise with his hat in his hand, and a satisfied smile on his lips.
The healthcare social media community was stunned to find this week that one of our most respected and stalwart leaders has decided to sign off. @drmikesevilla has made the personal decision to withdraw from social media. In a series of raw posts on his blog this week, he enumerates the uncertainty and frustration many of us have felt over the years. It does not serve to reiterate. You can read his posts here.
I feel a real connection to Mike Sevilla. We started blogging at the exact same time in 2006. I read some of his very first blog posts and he mine. For years now, I have watched in envy and joy to see his meteoric rise. In many ways, I often felt that my social media destiny was more akin to the lone journeyman on the empty road smiling quietly in the sun. And yes, Mike was more like Sting, belting it out for crowds of adoring fans.
Only with time, have I realized that actually, we share in the fact that both of our paths have been littered with both very public and private moments.
We ask ourselves if we are relevant, we shout in the echo chamber, and then we wait for the ether to confirm or deny our deep held suspicions.
The mistake is expecting social media to be a kingmaker.
Mike, you were a king before you wrote your first blog post, and you will be one after you publish your last tweet.
Who knows the wondrous unheard melody that Sting cooed to his daughter as he rocked her to sleep. Our lonely journeyman may enjoy the hustle and bustle of Time Square just as much as the little street I found him wandering on.
You touched us Mike, so take a bow.
We will be here when you return. And if you don't,
That's OK too!