Saturday, April 05, 2008

Wow, the NY Times is really reaching in their fascination with scaring people about blogging

Is it only me that reads an article like In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop and think it reeks of exploitation and desperation?

Two guy bloggers die of heart attacks, and a third recovers from one, and suddenly we're getting an article on how taxing blogging is.

Mainstream media likes to hype, we know that. They like the scare tactics about the blogosphere. We know that too. But this kinda goes too far in my opinion. I guess the mainstream media has gotten tired of blogvaneglists saying "Blog or die" and have decided to respond with "blog and die."

It definitely doesn't sound healthy to live like some of the guys (and they were all guys) profiled in this article, but then again, how many bloggers really live that way. I somehow doubt that the bloggers in the BlogHer ad network...even those at the very high end of the making-a-good-living-at-this their life like those guys.

I know the NY Times and other newspapers must be very scared of things like our recent survey that showed women are leaving other media to spend more time in the blogosphere, but I don't think reporting that it's so scary and physically risky to blog is going to help them conserve their readers.

I felt it was incredibly disrespectful to the three guys mentioned, frankly.

Anyone else feel that way, or am I in a hyper-sensitive mood today?

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I collect lots of traffic solutions, but this one just falls into the Link_bait category.
Aside from callously exploiting the death of two people, this read more like a love note to Michael Arrington and a gleeful, "Hee! Hee! You're all going to die!"
OMG, Elisa - I missed that one somehow. And more bad news for the NYT - in today's paper (Saturday) the two sections they had for the What's Online What's Offline make fun of articles connected to ideas related to women, have very stale info AND start off with typos!

I think the newspapermen are dying of heart attacks far faster than bloggers.
I think you became a little bit too moved by the article. I don't see much hype there.
Hi Elisa,

I read the Times article and, quite frankly, found myself agreeing with a lot of it.

Much of the real hype though--along the lines of "get paid for blogging!" and "you too can make it as a professional blogger!"--has come the Silicon Valley, which has often presented an all-too rosy scenario of how one can create a fabuloso career as a professional blogger (esp. in the tech world.) All those articles in BusinessWeek and in other business mags, that touted blogging as a great new career never explained how backgrounds in marketing or p.r. might be helpful, or backgrounds in journalism might be helpful, or having been a tech-funding v.c. might be helpful in making one a most successful pro one might have to live on junk food and spend long hours not moving from one's computer for long periods of time...

In other words, there's more to being a highly-paid professional blogger than has been said up till now. Which is why I found the Times article refreshing. A lot of what was said reflected what I've not just heard from lots of people who work for blog-based publications and other types of blog ventures (esp. tech and journalism), but have personally experienced working a number of different pro-blogging and blog-consulting jobs over the past two years. If you're living on your own--not with a sig other or in your parents' basement--it is indeed a lot of stress and a lot of long hours for low pay. It was only once I'd established a fairly decent reputation that I was able to make fairly decent money and set clear boundaries. Then again, the cost of living in Easthampton is quite a bit lower than in either NY or the SV, so "decent money" here is quite relative. But at least now my stress levels are lower.
I thought that article made a few valid points, but overall was emphasizing the wrong things. I actually wrote a post in response. Here's how I felt about it.
wow. I just read the article. I found it hilarious and sad at the same time. The people they profiled are really workaholics who would probably still be workaholics in another field. I write my blog at my leisure and never really feel that kind of pressure, but then again it's not my fulltime job, either.
What amused me was that they said people write blog posts for as "little as $10." HA! Maybe $3 or $4 for 400 words...I've seen it all over craigslist.

I don't think they're completely off-target with the point that most people can't do it full-time without sacrifice. But they're stretching without going far enough.
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