The Last Podcast Opinionated Web 2.0 News and Commentary


5 April 2008 @ 8pm


Blogging ourselves to death

Talk about a dramatic headline.

If today were Friday, I’m sure the New York Times “Blog Till They Drop” story would be getting even more play:

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.

It’s a nice piece of link-bait, especially with its focus on tech blogs, but the piece has a fatal flaw, as Matt Craven from the Blog Herald points out: it only talks about the hyper-competitive and large, news-breaking blogs like TechCrunch and the Gawker network.

Of course, a lot of us B, C and D listers feel we need to keep up with the big guys. But that is simply not possible. A single blogger just can’t keep up with the posting rhythm of any of the major tech blogs – and that’s ok (Doc Searls has a few words to say about that and how overrated scoops are as well).

As Paul Chaney pointed out a few days ago, if you have nothing to say – just don’t say anything – it’s ok. Smaller blogs best create value by providing analysis and creative insight – and that doesn’t come by thrying to hammer out yet another post for the sake of it.

Mike Arrington might have to worry about missing a big story – most bloggers don’t, but I can also see how some bloggers might get sucked into that idea and rhythm.

Still, the NYT’s piece seems a bit overly dramatic in talking about blogging (and the Times author also could have noted that Arrington has a penchant for being a bit overly dramatic himself when he quotes him).

There are a million other jobs out there where people are on-call 24/7; there is a workoholic in every office; and some people just can’t let go.

It’s not just a blogging problem – it’s about the way we, as a society, look at work. For better or worse, the tech blogging world just reflects that.

At the end of the day, though, blogging for me is simply a venue for my thoughts. There is no competition in it – it’s just a fun hobby that has allowed me to connect with a number of great people I would have never met otherwise.


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