NY Times on Blogging: ‘Unsustainable’

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.


5 Responses to “NY Times on Blogging: ‘Unsustainable’”

  1. 2xvoice Says:

    I can’t afford to blog 12 hours a day. Like, I actually have to get paid for my work, and most blogs don’t pay, dude.

    But seriously, why can’t you just stop? No friends, no family, no church? No movies to see, no art galleries, no sports?

    Don’t tell me there’s nothing to be done about it. You have a choice. If you’re working for people who demand you work 12 hours a day, then switch jobs. I sense addictive/compulsive behavior here. Get help. Relate to real people now and then.
    Victor Kulkosky

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    Nice attitude. I don’t blog 12 hours a day. I work 12 hours a day and blog a portion of that. I have a family and friends and activities.

    The overwhelming majority of people who blog do so casually and outside the context of their professional lives. The world of tech blogging, as the NY Times article points out, is one of the most extreme. The other comparable one would be political blogging.

    For the professional and pseudo-professional bloggers it’s like being a writer with multiple daily deadlines.

  3. Quasi Says:

    I’ve just started my cat blog and never knew what fun it could be. And yes, I spend hours and hours a day doing it, as do many other cats. We don’t get paid, but through our blogosphere community, we have become poised to take over the world.

  4. Paraglide Tandem Says:

    I think the pressures of being a tech blogger and trying to write about the latest startup or website add to the self imposed stress of trying to keep up with a flood of RSS feeds . My wife does not keep up on any internet news and does not understand why someone could get so passionate about following local search marketing blogs for example. She prefers American Idol on DVR and fastforwarding thru commercials. Her keeping up with Idol fix takes only 45 minutes.

  5. Perspective « Your Suspect Says:

    […] on its cover page titled “In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop.” Greg Sterling responded before the sun came up in Oakland, Om Malik also responded, and Michael Arrington is quoted in the […]

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