Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Old Grey Lady mischaracterizes again

HT to Captain Ed

He points to a a piece in the New York Times today that basically turns bloggers into victims of their own doing:

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.

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.

To be sure, there is no official diagnosis of death by blogging, and the premature demise of two people obviously does not qualify as an epidemic. There is also no certainty that the stress of the work contributed to their deaths. But friends and family of the deceased, and fellow information workers, say those deaths have them thinking about the dangers of their work style.

As Captain Ed adroitly notes, this has nothing to do with the work, per se. It has far more to do with their lifestyles, their eating habits, their sleeping habits, etc. Blogging isn't stressful. It's not supposed to be. And while there are many who put in extremely long hours and push themselves to the limit, there are others who know how to balance their work with what is needed to stay healthy.

To be fair, the gist of this article is for bloggers who are paid. Web publishing is a huge industry, and many get paid per post, or are held on retainer. If they meet the goals set by their "boss," the goal is raised. The piece focuses on tech bloggers who work their butts off to break the newest gadget news. For some, it may be too stressful.

But for bloggers like Marcie and myself, we face no stress. The "ceiling" is what we make of it. If we happen to put up a post that notches us links from other blogs, then kudos to us. We do our best to acknowledge them when they occur. However, we don't wait up all night viewing blogs to see if we picked up a link. That's just not how we operate here. We don't do this for pay. We do it for fun. We do it because we like to write, and we're pretty spot-on when it comes to political analysis. If this were not true, then we wouldn't have a single reader visiting our site. And we do have many regulars who hit us daily.

Additionally, we're columnists. We have two columns a month that we write, and we don't do it for money. The boss is hardly William Randolph Hearst, and we accepted his offer to be staff writers because A) he recognizes our talent, and B) it's fun. Pay would be nice, but it's not mandatory for us. We live just fine on what I make at my "day job."

It's asinine for the Times to label bloggers as "victims." Blogging doesn't kill anyone. The stress these people live under is the stress THEY created themselves. If you're tired, take a nap. If you eat greasy, crap food daily because you're too wrapped up in your own little world of online publishing, then take a break and make a healthy snack or meal. This isn't hard, folks. This isn't rocket science.

We consider ourselves professional bloggers in that we try to put up posts everyday. Granted, life doesn't always work that way, and there are days, I'll admit, that we either can't find any decent news or events to address, or we're simply too busy to put anything up. That shows that while we'd like to, we do know when life is already too hectic to worry about blogging. I'd love nothing more than to stay home all day, and blog my butt off. But, again, life doesn't always work that way. And if the Times really wants to pimp a story that bloggers have a worse lifestyle then others, what does that say of their journalists who lead similar lives? When will they start dropping?

Publius II


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