The NY Times has a piece on blogging (“In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop“) and the deaths and ailments of various bloggers, including Om Malik who surved a heart attack and lived to tell about it.
It’s a cautionary tale:
Two weeks ago in North Lauderdale, Fla., funeral services were held for Russell Shaw, a prolific blogger on technology subjects who died at 60 of a heart attack. In December, another tech blogger, Marc Orchant, died at 50 of a massive coronary. A third, Om Malik, 41, survived a heart attack in December.
Other bloggers complain of weight loss or gain, sleep disorders, exhaustion and other maladies born of the nonstop strain of producing for a news and information cycle that is as always-on as the Internet.
To be sure, there is no official diagnosis of death by blogging, and the premature demise of two people obviously does not qualify as an epidemic. There is also no certainty that the stress of the work contributed to their deaths. But friends and family of the deceased, and fellow information workers, say those deaths have them thinking about the dangers of their work style.
Quoted in the article uber-blogger Michael Arrington characterizes his blogging as “unsustainable.” I identify. I feel both the relentlessness and the compulsion myself.
But the culture of blogging that drives people and is described in the NY Times piece is true of the larger Internet culture and economy as well. Blogging just brings it into more immediate and higher relief.
It’s a dysfunctional work culture where the demands are often so extreme that ten hour days are a kind of baseline. It’s rare in fact that I don’t work 12 hours per day and often 14. The sad thing is that as long as one is involved in blogging and the Internet there’s little to be done about it.