‘Death by Blogging’

‘Death by Blogging’

By: Ben Baruch, Sr. Account Executive, Fusion PR


We have all heard stories about people dying in computer cafes around the world playing ‘World of Warcraft,’ a multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). But now as reported by Matt Richtel in Sunday’s New York Times – blog posts are a digital-era sweatshop.


In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop,” Richtel quotes Michael Arrington, Editor of TechCrunch, ‘I haven’t died yet.’ In three years Arrington has gained 30 pounds, developed a severe sleeping disorder and converted his home into an office for him and four employees – ‘At some point, I’ll have a nervous breakdown and be admitted to the hospital, or something else will happen.’

Richtel was spurred on by the recent news of ‘prolific blogger,’ Russell Shaw, who wrote on technology subjects and died at 60 of a heart attack. Also, another tech blogger, Marc Orchant, died at 50 of a massive coronary and Om Malik, 41, who recently survived a heart attack.

Who would’ve thought that sitting in front of computer for days/nights on end would shorten a life.

Time to get back to reading blogs…

4 Comments
  • Suzanne McGee

    April 7, 2008 at 7:38 am Reply

    The pressures of 24-hour blogging leaves its toll, but in a way that is destroying some incredibly talented people. Thanks for the recap of the article. I recommend that everyone read the whole thing as it gives you good feel for what is happening behind the scenes.

  • Steve

    April 7, 2008 at 8:09 am Reply

    I believe this illustrates and underscores a much larger issue of the modern 24/7 always on digital world we find ourselves toiling within. No matter how fast technology allows us to perform certain tasks the human portion of the equation has reached its maximum throughput speed. Just because we have the infrastructure to send documents, plans and ideas whizzing around the globe at broadband speeds doesn’t necessarily mean we have the human ability to process information at those speeds. The more we try, the more we see the limitations of this lightening fast technology, the human component.

    Email allows sharing thousands of pages of documents, jokes, videos and all manner of questionable information. But how much of this raw information can we really process down into a useable context which brings us knowledge, something we can actually use. Information is useless unless it can be converted for our use somehow and human beings can only process so much so fast before we become overwhelmed which causes us to absorb even less information and convert it to knowledge and the cycle repeats itself.

    Think of this phenomenon as similar to multi-tasking. I can’t think of company or executive that hasn’t spouted the term multitasking as something modern workers must be proficient at and strive to increase. Unfortunately the reality is that several hundred studies have been done on multitasking over the years, all of which produced similar results. When a second task is added productivity falls by about one-third, while adding a third task cuts productivity by somewhere around 60 percent.

    Managers love hard numbers and tend to shy away from the softer human side of business, congratulations here’s some hard numbers on the human side that might even help you keep a few more co-workers alive.

  • PM

    April 7, 2008 at 8:49 am Reply

    In the “Gotta Have It Now” then “Gotta Get a Newer Story” era, the churn for news – and the impact must be questioned. Is it the quality or quantity of output and expectation that the readers value?

    With so many blogs, the competition for the eyeball and interest is paramount. Write one bad or “lackluster” column, someone the next day may stop reading…Heavens to Betsy, that same reader could be a prolific clicker of ads…

    It is a vicious circle.

    Sleep and Slimness should prevail over the lifestyle that the TechCrunch editor, Michael Arrington is currently leading.

  • Bennie

    April 7, 2008 at 2:04 pm Reply

    While the “digital-era sweatshop” does not leave much to be desired, I commend those who are consistent with their blogging and their efforts to keep us all updated on current industry news and trends.

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