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Will Blogging Be The Death Of You?


Within the last few months 2 prolific, high-profile bloggers have died from massive heart attacks, another suffered a major heat attack but survived. While we can’t very well say that blogging killed them, it’s entirely possible that the stress caused by the demands of blogging contributed to their heart attacks.

Casual bloggers may find it difficult to equate their hobby with fatal stress levels, but those who blog for a living are only too familiar with the all-consuming need to constantly feed the online machine.

Many professional bloggers work from home, often round the clock, as they try to find news and submit content before any other blogger does. In their article, “In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop”, nytimes.com refers to this phenomenon as the “digital-era sweatshop.”

Bloggers have long been complaining about the unreasonable amount of stress that they labour under, but the comments have been made mostly in jest. The sudden deaths of Russel Shaw and Marc Orchant have changed that, and resulted in bloggers analysing their blogging habits, and worrying if they too are working towards an untimely demise.

Michael Arrington, who founded the technology blog TechCrunch, says that he’s gained 30 pounds (13.6kg) and has developed a severe sleeping disorder as he works to maintain his site’s credibility and good reputation. He says that when your world consists of blogging, there is never any time that you’re not worried that you’re missing out on something. He also says that he’s certain that at some point he’ll have a nervous breakdown or that something else will happen to him as a result of the hours that he works.

If someone who is as established and successful as Arrington is bowed beneath the stresses of working online, you can imagine the weight on a newcomer’s shoulders. When you’re starting out as a blogger it’s unlikely that you’ll earn more than $10 a post. So you put in the hours and become prolific out of necessity, you then remain prolific to maintain your audience. Readers crave news and they’re fickle. They go where the news is, and if another blogger has beaten you to a topic, even by seconds, you’ll lose your audience, you’ll lose links and you’ll lose money.

That is why bloggers work all hours trying to keep their posts interesting and fresh. They eat badly and develop sleep disorders because they don’t believe they can afford to be away from their computers for even a nanosecond. Bloggers don’t even risk going on holiday in case their audience wanders over to someone else in their absence.

Blog topics can range from celebrity gossip to politics and sport, with each encumbered by its own stressors and tensions. So far it seems that the topics that create the greatest pressure revolve around technology and the news. It may simply be coincidence that Russel Shaw and Marc Orchant were both bloggers in the tech field. Or it may be that of all blogs, those that have to do with technology are the fatal ones.

As for me, I do blog, but only sporadically. I have yet to feel the need to pull an all-nighter or live on protein shakes mixed with coffee. And in the interests of safety, I stay away from anything that could conceivably be construed as tech-related.

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Source by Sandy Cosser

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