Death By Blogging

Posted on April 10, 2008

Everyone's talking about the New York Times article that says that blogging can kill you. Long hours, high stress and lack of exercise all contribute to a potentially unhealthy job situation. Recently one popular blogger died and another suffered a heart attack.

They work long hours, often to exhaustion. Many are paid by the piece - not garments, but blog posts. This is the digital-era sweatshop. You may know it by a different name: home. A growing work force of home-office laborers and entrepreneurs, armed with computers and smartphones and wired to the hilt, are toiling under great physical and emotional stress created by the around-the-clock Internet economy that demands a constant stream of news and comment.

Of course, the bloggers can work elsewhere, and they profess a love of the nonstop action and perhaps the chance to create a global media outlet without a major up-front investment. At the same time, some are starting to wonder if something has gone very wrong. In the last few months, two among their ranks have died suddenly. 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.

The New York Times says "to be sure, there is no official diagnosis of death by blogging" so that's a relief. TechCrunch blogger, founder and co-editor Michael Arrington told the Times that he is still alive. Arrington says, " "I haven't died yet. At some point, I'll have a nervous breakdown and be admitted to the hospital, or something else will happen. This is not sustainable."

It's true that obsessive blogging can be unhealthy. It's important to take breaks and work on your novel. Oh wait. That doesn't really help your carpal tunnel syndrome or raise your heart rate, now does it?