Death by blogging
Apparently, our always-on, hectic, global blogosphere has caused the recent deaths of three high profile bloggers – all from heart attacks and ranging in age from 40 to 60 years. I didn’t think of death by blogging when I took a recent look at the many ways we could snuff it off this planet. Didn’t really occur to me. I’m not really an obsessed blogger.
When I started out in January 2007, I admit that for the first few months, I would look at the stats to see if anyone was actually reading my rantings and ravings. Now, I rarely look. I simply blog about what I’m interested in. It’s a way for me to say what I want when I want. If people read and enjoy, okay great. If not, well I’ll remain as obscure as I already am. I have no desire to be a world famous blogger or be in the dizzying ranks of top bloggers. I don’t have the time, energy or patience to spend hours beavering away, hunched over my beloved Mac, turning myself into a new breed of information worker, who rakes in millions through advertising revenue. Hold on! Millions did I hear myself say? Let me rethink!
According to a recent article in The New York Times, Michael Arrington, the founder and co-editor of TechCrunch, a popular technology blog, says his blog hauls in millions through ads. But this has been at a cost to himself. Over the last three years, he has gained about 13 kilos (30 pounds) in weight, suffers from a severe sleeping disorder and his home has been turned into an office for four employees. He feels: “At some point, I’ll have a nervous breakdown and be admitted to the hospital, or something else will happen”.
Advertising has followed publishing to the internet. Some bloggers blog away for the money but from the rates I’ve seen, it sounds a bit like a digital sweatshop. And then there’s the whole competition thing. Trying to beat blogs like BoingBoing (which I love) with the scoop or trying to bring the world news of an Enron-like debacle. Perez Hilton started off his blog because (he says) it seemed an easy thing to do. Now, he’s a celebrity in his own right, rubbing shoulders with the Hollywood glitterati. But to me, sometimes the blogosphere is populated by viciousness, nasty competitiveness, testosterone-fuelled types, bleary-eyed people slaving away to bring the latest, breaking news and so on.
Speed of course is of the essence. Often, I’ve thought “oh must include that on ThinkingShift” only to find that I’ve been scooped by BoingBoing (oh yes: I’ve been ahead of them occasionally) because I delayed a day or so whilst I was busy taking photos! If you read the article, you’ll find that some poor dudes only sleep 5 hours a night, existing on coffee and protein supplements. Some guys drop off over their computers or they faint over their mouse. So it seems this pay-per-click economy sounds way too stressful for me. I think I’ll keep taking photos and quietly blog away (well, rant) about the things I want to rant about. No millions to me, but I won’t suffer the stress of the digital sweatshop environment.