They say that what you do for work is going to kill you, so could that be true with blogging? The New York Times thinks so.
Apparently their reasoning is because some prominent bloggers have ended up with medical conditions that have killed them:
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.
I agree with Michael over at Poligazette. He’s only a couple years older than me, but is still a university student, so he understands what college life can be like. He also blogs a lot more than I do. Several posts a day, and if you read his bio on Poligazette’s about page, he does a lot of other work, too. I’ll let him speak for himself:
I know what itâ€™s like to suffer from insomnia due to blogging but the cure is very simple: blog less. You shouldnâ€™t be thinking about your blog non-stop. If you do, youâ€™ve got to change your pattern of blogging.
My grades fell flat due to blogging, so I decided to spend more time studying and less time blogging. I started to sleep less well, so I decided to blog less still. You may not have noticed much of a difference when it comes to total amount of posts, but nowadays I spend, say, 5 or tops 10 minutes per post and I write most posts early and put them on the timer, so that theyâ€™re published throughout the day. That way, I donâ€™t have to think about the blog for the biggest part of the day.
That makes sense. It’s like that old saying: “everything in moderation”. If blogging is wearing you out, do less of it!
I have thought about doing more blogging in the past, perhaps even trying to go semi-professional, but then found that I don’t have the time. Perhaps once I’m out of school and have started working (not blogging about work of course!), but I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future right now, so that’ll be a decision I make once that time comes.
Still, I understand that it could be wearisome. God knows I’ve been worn down at times doing what I love best, television production. There are times when I’d rather not see the inside of a control room or a studio, so I try and take a break. Guess what: it works!
For now, though, I don’t blog thinking I’ll make money off it. If my life someday leads in that direction, then great! I’d love the idea of doing this for some cash in my pocket. But, for now, I do it for me. It provides me an outlet to get out my ideas, so that I’m not constantly dwelling on them.Â Michelle Malkin blog contributor see-dubya says it better than I can:
Actually, blogging is kind of therapeutic. Especially when youâ€™re a red-state person living in a blue, blue state, and your neighbors would burn a peace symbol in your yard at midnight if they knew how you really felt about things. Some people do yoga; I pound the keyboard. The blood pressure goes down either way.
See-dubya is right. Many of my entries here have been my way of not taking out my anger by yelling at somebody. It works for me, just as doing some other activity may help someone else.
I’ll end with a comment on another piece of the NY Times article:
Speed can be of the essence. If a blogger is beaten by a millisecond, someone elseâ€™s post on the subject will bring in the audience, the links and the bigger share of the ad revenue.
I disagree. The lines between the mainstream media and blogging may have become blurred over the last year or two, but blogging is different in some ways. Unlike the media, bloggers don’t have to worry about ratings. Media producers worry all the time about getting that exclusive. To some extent bloggers might also worry about this, if they’re looking to break a story that the media isn’t. For instance, bloggers were key in the since debunked President Bush military records story.
But mostly, the bloggers who get the largest followings are the ones who have unique outlooks on happenings in the world. Yes, they are also the ones who make contacts with other people (I could do with more of that), but once people have found those blogs, the unique perspective is what’s going to keep people reading.
All that said, I’m off to see what to write next. And hopefully I won’t die doing it!