April 05, 2008 |
I knew the second that the New York Times article from Matt Richtel went across my feeds it was going to be the water cooler discussion du jour over the weekend. I'm sure it will have the entire blogosphere lit up like a Christmas tree by the time I log in tomorrow and check my feeds again. And I'm sure some of the article has merit.
Under the headline In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop, Richtel has us all teetering on the edge of a nervous breakdown, or a heart attack (he references Om Malik's medical issues) or even death (Russell Shaw). Am I to believe that even New York Times writers are gunning for the controversial hits over the weekends?
Richtel's claims are sensational, for sure, and I've seen tons of agreement in the Twitter public timeline since the article went up. However, Richtel, in his article, missed the point. Health issues have absolutely nothing to do with blogging. They have everything to do with a personality type that isn't limited to the blogosphere.
Everyone who's spent time in corporate America has heard stories of a co-worker found dead at his desk the next morning, or the executive who refused to leave in an ambulance while having a heart attack until he finished a phone call or signed off on some contracts. The syndrome even has a name: workaholic. They appear in every industry, not just blogging.
I know that there are people who sleep little trying to get the big scoop. They have incredible drive and yes, they are workaholics and probably endangering their lives. But I don't think it's the hallmark of a good blogger or even a successful one. It's the hallmark of someone who has no concept of a work-life balance.
The world of tech moves at a furious pace, and it takes no time at all for a feed reader to show over 5,000 unread posts, all news you should be keeping on top of it you hope to work as a professional blogger (p.s. Mr. Richtel, $10 is FAR from the “as little” per post payment. A $10 a post gig pays pretty well). But having the first post doesn't make it the best post, and many workaholics sacrifice quality for quantity and the ability to be first.
Yes, everyone wants to be the article that other people cite. It gets more eyeballs, more egoboo, and better ads. But in the overall scheme of things, there's a lot more to life than work in any industry. Blogging about tech isn't saving any lives, so it makes even less sense to risk your health at it. Put the laptop down. Enjoy the sunshine. Have a life.