Blogging is a medium which is growing at a phenomenal rate. There are millions of people doing it on a daily basis, both as a hobby, and a career. But could it be killing people?
No, of course it couldn’t, at least not directly, but that hasn’t stopped The New York Times linking the cases of two prominent technology bloggers dying from heart attacks to the hazards of professional blogging.
Russell Shaw and Marc Orchant, both professional bloggers, have sadly passed away in recent months, while Om Malik survived a heart attack in December at the tender age of 41.
The NYT go on to discuss the art of blogging, and how stressful the job is. They may have a point when it comes to the top 1% of the industry, but the majority of us don’t ever reach those heady heights.
It may surprise you to learn that this is my day job. I know, I’m not the best writer in the world, or the most knowledgeable on one subject, but I get paid to know a little about lots of different things, and giving my opinion on them.
I earn a living for my efforts, but it’s not the fortune that the NYT seem to think we’re all making. I’m a middle rung blogger, not a star, but not struggling at the bottom either.
Personally, I don’t consider this to be a particularly stressful job. I get to spend my days at home, with the television or some music on, and can have as many breaks as I see fit throughout the day.
There are days when I wake up knowing I have a lot of work ahead of me, but it’s hardly coal mining now is it.
One point I will submit to the NYT is the weight gain which comes with the territory. I used to have a very active job, and lifestyle in general. Now I sit on my butt writing opinionated news pieces for a living. So naturally I have gained weight.
The point is that at the top end of the scale, blogging is a stressful job with long hours, and big rewards. But only in the same way that any job is. So using prominent bloggers at the top of their game such as Michael Arrington of Techcrunch, and Matt Buchanan of Gizmodo as your study cases is obviously going to lead to skewed results.
I personally know I need to be more active, and spend less time trying to get that extra post done for the day, week, month or year. I also know I should start having the occasional day off. Since going professional last July, I’ve blogged on one site or another every single day.
But to go from that knowledge, to the conclusion that blogging is a recipe for an early trip to the morgue is a bit of a push.
Maybe The NYT are just getting worried about the lurch to new media, and getting concerned that they, as traditional media, are about to get swallowed up in a 24/7 world of rolling news.
At the end of the day, blogging is just like any other career. To succeed and reach the top of the ladder, you have to work damn hard, and cause untold stress to your mind and body. But the vast majority of us are happy just getting paid to write for a living, and with a few healthier lifestyle choices could live as long as any office worker.