Can Blog Posts drive people to suicide?This is the question we are asking ourselves in wake of the suicide by Paul Tilly, who was only 40 years old when he jumped down to his death from a hotel floor in Chicago.
According to the New York Times, Mr. Tilley, Creative Director of ad agency DDB Chicago, supervised teams that created the “I’m Lovin’ It” campaign for McDonald’s and the “Dell Dude" for Dell.
Commenters on two apparently sharp-tongued blogs written by ad industry insiders, AgencySpy and AdScam, say that Paul Tilly was driven to commit suicide because he was troubled by some recent articles on these two blogs which criticized him for how he handled his job, among other things.
One post in question advised Paul Tilly to “go back to management 101”.
However, the Times story quotes a friend of Mr. Tilly saying, "it’s certainly not because of blogs".
Whatever the reason behind this extremely sad episode may be, it is true that Blogs (and social networking), being free-er by nature, can go to the edge, taking 'the subject/target' to the edge as well.
We saw this happening in Kathy Sierra harassment episode. We also must not forget Megan Meier, a 13-year-old Missouri girl who took her life in 2006 after being the target of insults on MySpace.
I suspect some bloggers will revisit Tim O'reilly's proposed Code of Ethics for Bloggers. Without going into the merits of a code, as free bloggers, we all must keep in mind that "With freedom, comes great responsibility".