Monday, March 3, 2008

When blogging can kill you

(Update: I incorrectly understood M.Tilley had a blog himself, but it's rather other people who used blogs to rant against his business and him personally. I have made some changes to reflect this position. However, I don't think it significantly change the outcome: someone killed himself partly because of blogging...)

Paul Tilley was an executive at an ad agency. People used the freedom of blogging to foster communication and feedback about the industry and ad agencies, from clients and employees alike. That eventually led to open criticism of M.Tilley's management style and decisions: that may have killed him. Maybe not directly, but it certainly contributed to a chain of events that led to his death.

It's a sad story, please allow me to quote Andy Beal:
...stop and consider the personal psychological harm our words might have on an individual. While it’s easy for us to post our scathing criticisms. we’re often desensitized to the harm we inflict–simply because we’re miles away, safe behind our web browser.
I didn't know M.Tilley, in fact I never heard of him before. But I'm nevertheless sadden by this story. It's at the opposite spectrum of the idea I shared several months ago in my post about "the lonely life of bloggers" where I critiqued a book called "Blogosphere":
...blogs are made by human beings, and are read by human beings... how can this be unreal?