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Human Potential in the Age of Exponential Tech

Seriously? Bloggers Write Till They Drop…I say…get a grip!

I was forwarded an interesting article today written by the New York Times, entitled “In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop.”

The article begins by comparing piece-bloggers, those who are compensated by the number of blog posts they write, to sweat shop workers. Low pay, grueling hours and no matter how hard you try, you can never keep up with the constant flow of information.

The name of the game is speed, and there is heavy pressure to be first, the fastest and most updated. Blogging has become an obsessive compulsion for some, who weigh the freedom of flexible work hours with the never ending demands of information reporting. In particular, in the technology sector with TechCrunch and Gawker Media all striving to be the first and foremost source on the web.

The costs are apparently too high for some:

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.

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.

Ok people, let’s take a deep breath here. The key to blogging successfully (and to doing everything for that matter is having balance.

1) Create Reasonable Expectations with Readers: If you’re not a full time blogger, you might find that blogging as the potential of being a huge time vacuum. Set realistic expectations of how many times you can post, be it once a day, twice a week or what not and stick to it. Readers will adapt. Plenty of blogs like The Superficial aren’t updated on weekends, and you know what, I still come back every Monday morning for more.

2) Share The Load: If you’re working in a time sensitive sector, then consider starting a group blog, where a team of writers can shoulder the responsibility of keeping blogs up to date. This will help ensure that your blog constantly has new information, and that your writers remain happy and sane. (Not to mention, alive)

3) Differentiate Yourself : If everyone is focused on speed, then focus on quality analysis. 100 blogs can break news but I find the blogs that can actually coherently state what it means and explain the impact for the reader, those are few and far in between.

4) Relax. Seriously, big picture, it’s only blogging. If it’s impacting your health. STOP. (Besides you can’t take all that money with you.)

5) Reality Check. There are those success stories of bloggers bringing in millions (BoingBoing, Perezhilton) that serve to inspire us all. But if you’re working non-stop and forgoing sleep, meals and social interactions, then maybe you need to reconsider your strategy. Dreaming of becoming a blogger is great, but not if you’re too sick to enjoy it. Consider other sources of income to support yourself while building your reputation and web traffic.

Life is short, go outside, take a nice deep breath of the first few days of spring!

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