Quoth the Raven
Some ramblings on my experiences with public relations

90-Day Jane

One of my favourite websites to visit is Plime.com, a forum where members can post interesting or amusing links for visitors to look at. Though there are some silly ones – like the story of a 26-year-old woman who wants to date 300 men this Valentine’s Day – but many of them refer to cutting-edge or controversial issues.

When I checked the site yesterday morning, one link immediately caught my eye: a post entitled 90 Day Jane. The link went to a blog written by an anonymous 24-year-old woman, going by the name of Jane, who claims she will kill herself 90 days from her first posting.

I was immediately shocked by what I was reading. Her reason for ending her life, and blogging about it in a public forum, is as follows:

“This blog is not a cry for help or even to get attention. It’s simply a public record of my last 90 days in existence. I’m not depressed and nothing extremely horrible has lead me to this decision. But, does it really have to? I mean, as an atheist I feel life has no greater purpose. My generation has had no great depression, no great war and our biggest obstacle is beating Halo 3. So, if I feel like saying “game over”, why can’t I? Anyway, I hope you enjoy my thoughts as the clock runs out.”

Jane’s blog has come under fire from many different sources; besides widespread speculation that the blog is a hoax, an article in the New York Daily News claims that she has sparked fears of a suicide contagion. Dr. John Draper, director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, says “she is suggesting that suicide is a reasonable method for those questioning life’s meaning, which is just absurd.”

Jane’s blog has already been removed by Blogger after only seven days of being online. However, she already has it up and running in a new location, and is committed to keeping her “personal art piece” going. Although she claims the blog is only for self-fulfillment and to create a dialogue with those who stumble upon it, and not to gain attention – she continues to maintain her anonymity and has turned down offers for television deals – this assertion is a little hard to take. Blogging about such a controversial issue seems like a recipe for more than enough attention for one person to handle.

I’m curious to know what everyone thinks of this. It it a hoax? How will what she’s writing affect readers? And most of all, do you think she’s just trying to express herself, or is she looking for attention?

*Note: Jane has recently posted that the entire blog was an art piece, and now that she has received such an outpouring from commenters who really empathized with her, she will be taking the “project” down in a few days. She explained that her aim to was to get in touch with the darkest part of herself and see what happened. What do you think of her explanation? Do you think her project is worth the many negative consequences it could lead to?


3 Responses to “90-Day Jane”

  1. Hey Kate,

    I was shocked when I read your post. What would encourage someone to post daily entries about the preparations to kill herself?.

    From the latest entry which describes the blog as an art expression, I think it’s pretty clear that she has no plans to kill herself. The following passage indicates that she wasn’t expecting people to believe the blog was real:

    “My closeness to this project must have made art seems like reality to many people. That is not a reaction that I expected nor can I morally justify. This is why my project, 90DayJane, will be taken down in the next few days”.

    I think it’s right for her to take the project down. Although to her it was a form of art, to others who are unaware of the reasoning behind the blog might have been led to believe that suicide was a justifiable act.

    What shocked me the most were the negative comments posted by so many people on her latest entry. She received comments saying that they wished she would have killed herself. It’s understandable if people don’t agree with the reasons why she began this blog, but to stoop to such a level that they seem angry she didn’t follow through with it is sickening.

    It seems that people can be very cruel when hiding behind a computer screen; along with the Internet came online bullying. Reading such negative comments made me remember a news story that I heard a while ago about a young girl, 13 or 14 years old, who committed suicide after being continually bullied online. It just goes to show what effect negative words can have on others. It’s a shame that people abuse the Internet rather than embrace it as a new form of communication and use it in a positive way.

  2. Thanks for the new link. I was so disappointed a few minutes ago when I was that it had already been removed.

    The thing that really tips me off as being fake is the e-mail address she posted. She obviously created an address just for this project to be “anonymous,” but—come on—she totally wants everyone to send her comments of every kind.

    She’s making me really angry. I hated Go Ask Alice, anyway.

  3. It’s an ill-conceived art-piece. Statistics show that suicide rates increase for a period of time when an incident gets prominent media coverage. I imagine something like this would push a few people over the line who may otherwise have reached out for help once more.

    She was naive to think that posting it online wouldn’t cause problems.

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