Monday, April 7, 2008

Death By Blogging

Here's an interesting piece from the New York Times about the "epidemic" of bloggers who are dying unexpectedly. Matt Richtel wrote here saying:
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.

According to Richtel it seemed the bloggers most at risk were those "blogging for pay." (or maybe just the tech bloggers?) Thousands write for Web publishers (as employees or as contractors) or have started their own online media outlets with "profit in mind."

I'm thankful to say I blog for fun and not for profit. (See Simple Justice for Scott's take) I write when I want and about what I want. Nevertheless, my good friend, Ed Spillane, recently stumbled across my ramblings around the same time he read the Times article. As any good friend would, Ed immediately warned me about the dangers of blogging:
I read the other day in the New York Times that a couple of popular bloggers recently passed away from heart attacks . . . evidently blogging can be very physically draining. Keep up the good work!
I wasn't sure whether Ed was encouraging me to work hard because he liked the blog or because he anticipated my untimely demise. But knowing Ed from my days at the Brazos County prosecutor's office, I reckoned the former . . . rather than the latter.

So, I supposed the message for committed bloggers is exercise regularly, get your cholesterol checked, and stop taking money for your blogging efforts.

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