Blogs are a curious phenomenon. Like modern poetry, they have more writers than readers…those who have lost their health in their determination to sate their readers’ interest are, after their fashion, martyrs to a worthy cause.
Three well-known tech bloggers have had heart attacks since December, and a story in the New York Times suggests that the high stress of blogging may be a cause. Many obsessive bloggers complain of weight fluctuation, insomnia and exhaustion. "There is no official diagnosis of death by blogging, and the premature demise of two people obviously does not qualify as an epidemic," said the newspaper. "But friends and family of the deceased ... say those deaths have them thinking about the dangers of their work style."
Even amateur and occasional bloggers know what I mean. The urgency to express an original thought, to think it over, and to post it first, before everyone else, is a permanent driver. There is and permanent strain to find interesting topics of discussion and appealing ideas that will resonate with readers. Most important, it is the constant pressure to drive page views that is burdensome.
It is impossible, of course, to know whether blogging played a role in the heart attacks of bloggers Russell Shaw, of ZDNet, Marc Orchant of blognation, and Om Malik. “The longstanding observation that rates of coronary heart disease vary markedly among occupations-more than can be accounted for by conventional risk factors for coronary heart disease-has generated a quest for specific components of work that might be of aetiological importance,” as a review of the literature on psychosocial factors and cardiovascular disease put it in the British Medical Journal a few years back.
So, can blogging be included in the high-risk occupations list? I doubt so. Quoting Larry Dignan, who also has been interviewed for the Times story, but did not support the cases generalization outlook, so his opinion was not counted: “Yes, blogging is stressful. Yes, it can be insane. But is it any worse than being a corporate lawyer? How many of those folks dropped in the last six months? How about mortgage brokers? Hedge fund traders? FBI agents? Any job where you gnash your teeth together? We write for a living, yap all day and don’t have to wear suits. You could do worse than blogging”.
So, it is opinion of the professional blogger, whose financial state depends on the blog popularity. For most of you, it is just mostly fun, and slightly income. Do not get obsessed by blogging, do not let it to hook you up. There is life in the Real World as well. Look around! Your friends and families need you even more than your readers! Do not Blog to Death!
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