Saturday, April 5, 2008

Death by blogging

Hysterical (in both senses of the word):
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.
Oh, the horrible stress of it all! Forget about global warming. Forget about famine in Africa. We must find a solution to . . . The Blog Crisis!

Leave it to the New York Times to find eeevvilll capitalist exploitation wherever people work for a living:
Blogging has been lucrative for some, but those on the lower rungs of the business can earn as little as $10 a post, and in some cases are paid on a sliding bonus scale that rewards success with a demand for even more work. . . .
Some write for fun, but thousands write for Web publishers — as employees or as contractors — or have started their own online media outlets with profit in mind.
Bloggers for such sites are often paid for each post, though some are paid based on how many people read their material. They build that audience through scoops or volume or both.
Some sites, like those owned by Gawker Media, give bloggers retainers and then bonuses for hitting benchmarks, like if the pages they write are viewed 100,000 times a month. Then the goal is raised, like a sales commission: write more, earn more.
Let's see, Wal-Mart is evil because it sells stuff cheap and isn't unionized, and Starbucks is evil because it sells expensive coffee and isn't unionized. The pattern of New York Times-disapproved capitalist exploitation is clear. Obviously, there can be only one solution to The Blog Crisis:
You have nothing to lose
. . . but your pajamas!
This message paid for by the International Amalgamated Blogworkers Guild, Local 374.

UPDATE: See-Dubya guestslaveblogging for Malkin:
Actually, blogging is kind of therapeutic. . . . Some people do yoga; I pound the keyboard. The blood pressure goes down either way.
"Some people do yoga"? Right-wing homophobic code words, obviously. Once you understand his repressive theocratic agenda, you know that what See-Dubya really means is: "Pinko faggots who should be be deprived of their civil rights do yoga."

UPDATE II: James Joyner links, and notes the observation of Swaraaj Chauhan:
To me blogging is a pure joy. I have been a working journalist for most of my life but now find that the mainstream media has undergone a sea change, and those who learnt the professional nuances in the pre-1980 era have little opportunity to contribute. . . .
I had almost begun to feel left out three years ago in the absence of a platform to write. . . . So in this way blogs can get people out of stress and listlessness.
Two great points there:
  • Blogging can be a stress-relieving outlet for people who feel a desire to share their views in writing.
  • Compared to life in a newsroom, blogging is a walk in the park.
I disagree, however, with Chauhan's assertion that older journalists "have little opportunity to contribute." This is a misunderstanding of the actual situation: The print journalism industry is shrinking, and has been shrinking for 20 years, which makes upward mobility problematic. Older journalists can still work, but they're expected to work with the intensity and enthusiasm of 25-year-olds -- and for the same crappy pay that 25-year-olds get.

Speaking of which, an editor called me this morning with an assignment, one that requires real research and real writing. Oh, the horrible stress of it all . . .

UPDATE III: OK, I completed the first five paragraphs of my "real writing" assignment, so now it's time to goof off some more by reading Little Miss Atilla's suggestion to stressed-out, overweight bloggers:
Hint: have your readers send you gin, instead of snacks. That'll help.
Easy on the gin, sweetheart. We know what happens when you get into the gin. If only we had pictures . . .

Speaking of pictures, Fausta has pictures of stressed-out bloggers living it up at a blog conference in New Jersey. OK, maybe they weren't "living it up." It's New Jersey, after all.

1 comment:

  1. Actually, last year some fool was asking for a bloggers' union.

    Just so we put an end to the self-exploitation!