The New York Times has an article entitled “In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop” and boy has it hit a nerve in the blogging community.
The story, which is an interesting read for anyone in blogging or interested in the craft looks at the recent deaths of two bloggers, Russell Shaw and Marc Orchant as well as the near-death experience by Om Malik as potential realities for anyone in the constant-blogging lifestyle. Bloggers for sites part of Gawker Media and the like are consider sweatshop workers driven by the monetary reward of posting popular posts and often. Self-employed bloggers don’t fare much better as people like Michael Arrington admit to declining health and poor sleep due to the constant worry of missing a story.
Some have rubbished the story with Mathew Ingram calling the story “blog trolling 101″ and Marc Andreessen taking a comical stab at potential New York Times article titles but I wasn’t totally convinced. Then i saw Larry Dignan’s post on why he wasn’t mentioned in the article even though he was interviewed — he adds a not so serious reality to the situation by saying he works out and asks if blogging is any more stressful than being a corporate lawyer and I agree that there probably are a lot worse jobs to have than managing 5,000 RSS feeds. Agree or disagree, I still think there is an underlying issue that gives the article some validity. Sure, other jobs are stressful, but the focus was still on blogging.
When we look at Michael Arrington being in the position he is in right now it’s safe to say it’s a position he could avoid and blogging around the clock might work for a while, but it really isn’t sustainable. Could it be just an overall addiction? Or is the money also a real reason for people to work continuously thereby lumping blogging in with any other stressful job? I don’t have the answers, but it got me to thinking after realizing how much time I spend online, blogging.
This site isn’t updated nearly as much as others but it doesn’t mean a lot of time doesn’t go into it, sorting through stories, testing things out, writing and even tossing stories before they ever see the light of day. I especially found it ironic seeing this article and realizing this week that I’ve been pretty sick this past Saturday to Saturday, only now feeling better yet I found myself blogging, not because it’s my means of income, or for money at all, just because I like doing it. But could I be confusing my “love” of writing for people to read with an addiction? I sure hope not since I didn’t exactly force myself to do 8 posts a day or anything, but reading the NYT article we should face the reality of life and try to be healthy. Don’t let something happen before you come to a realization, learn from others and if you spend a lot of time at a desk, in front the computer, blogging, reading a lot of blogs or both, consider taking a walk every now and then, getting a check up and taking care of yourself. Now let’s get back to having some fun online.