April 5, 2008

Is blogging so stressful that it should be considered "a young man's game"?

The NYT asks.
“I haven’t died yet,” said Michael Arrington, the founder and co-editor of TechCrunch.... Mr. Arrington says he has gained 30 pounds in the last three years, developed a severe sleeping disorder and turned 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.”

“This is not sustainable,” he said.

AND: Isn't this the truth?
Have you ever seen such shameless traffic-baiting from the failing New York Times? Are they really feeling the Pinch this badly? And yet, I’m touched. So here’s a sympathy link.
It's really a dilemma. Should one link to these pathetic, absurd things? And aren't we pathetic to link to them when they talk about us?

I'm seeing a bunch of posts mocking the NYT article — mainly for pitying bloggers who complain about their working conditions. For example, noting the tales of bloggers getting heart attacks, Dr. Helen writes:
Funny, I had a heart attack before I started blogging. Now I am fine. Coincidence? I think not. Some bloggers actually see their craft as therapeutic. Perhaps it depends on your mindset. And as I have said before, I think many people who blog don't feel well to begin with. If they did, they might be out doing less sedentary things. So, some, though not all, may come to the keyboard already with health problems.
I think the mindset that makes blogging oppressive is doing it for money. I don't think Dr. Helen is blogging for a living, and I'm not blogging for a living. I get money from ads, but blogging wouldn't be so fun and fulfilling if I was depending on it for my livelihood. Some of the bloggers described in the article were working for someone else and getting paid $10 a post. At my rate of blogging — which is pretty intense and 365 days a year — that deal would bring in less than $30,000 a year. That would in fact be not sustainable. I'd feel like an idiot working this hard, getting this many readers, and only making that much money. Warning alarms would be going off in my head constantly: You have a terrible job! Feelings of self-doubt and regret would torment me. Friends and family would tell me I'm crazy, and I'd have a special segment of my brain playing a tape loop: Am I crazy? Am I crazy?

So is blogging "a young man's game"? If it's a game, it's several games. One is for young men and women: Use it as a calling card. Get some recognition and leverage it into a job in journalism, a nice book deal, or something else more substantial. Blog hard, but not for too long, and make it work as a means to an end. An older person changing careers might do this too. But there are many other games to be played through blogging: You can amplify another career (a career that brings you real income). You may care passionately about your cause and or your beliefs, something that you might otherwise contribute money to. You can do it with no idea of improving your income but purely for personal satisfaction.

Know why you are doing it and pay attention to whether it is doing what you want it to do for you. That's good advice for anything you do by choice. I think the stress people feel — in blogging, as in many other things — comes from the unattended-to knowledge that what they are doing doesn't make sense.

29 comments:

Trooper York said...

"Is blogging so stressful that it should be considered "a young man's game"?"

I don't know, there are some old broads who are pretty good at it.

Bob said...

I think it's easy to obsess about blogging and lose your perspective, get involved with staying at the computer and following links, writing entries, etc., at the expense of a real social life. Ann has a good system of blogging in the mornings, then blogging again later in the evening. You can see that she doesn't obsess about it.

MadisonMan said...

How many bloggers are imperiling their lives by blogging about this post! Is is a nefarious plot by the NYTimes bloggers to eliminate the competition?

Joe said...

Welcome to the real world, asshole.

I really hate whiners like this. If you can't handle it, go do something else!

And try working godless hours with over aggressive deadlines, constantly changing customer requirements and bosses that refuse to buy tools to make your job easier. I'm describing my own job as a computer programmer, but it could also describe just about any high paying career.

AJ Lynch said...

Like Trooper said.

Plus shouldn't the NYT be writing about how stressful it is to work in the old media today? Regular rounds of layoffs, getting your ass beat daily by a blogger in his pajamas (not you Titus). I bet the NYT staff is packing on some pounds these days. I hope the owner is still paying their health insurance premiums.

Chip Ahoy said...

I hear waitressing is kinda tough.

former law student said...

Bloggers are mostly ignorant people spouting off -- although not a blogger, am I shortening my life with each comment?

John Lynch said...

One day I had the revelation that if I spent all the time I wasted on the internet doing something else, it would be... better.

So I wrote a book instead.

Mostly, blogging, forums, internet is a waste of time.

I can put the brightest pearl of wisdom out in a comment or post... but no one will see it. Then I see a big blog or even the MSM make the same point. So, it's pointless.

Human nature dictates that what important people say is important, and unimportant people don't say anything important.

rcocean said...

Did anyone else find this article unintentionally humorous?

You want a tough job, try mining coal or putting on a new roof in 95 degree heat.

Damn, there's a lot of whining and complaining by our comfortable 'elite' in the New York Times.

Uh oh, this post is making me dizzy, the stress!!

Maguro said...

I guess this means the guy from Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs" show will be amazing us next week by blogging for a day. I'm sure it will be harrowing.

reader_iam said...

No, I don't think it should be considered a "young man's game."

blake said...

Somewhere in Fresno county, a 60-year-old laborer pauses from plucking strawberries, sets down his basket and looks west. Looks west to San Francisco, where a blogger pushes himself beyond all human endurance, and allows a single tear to escape before returning to his job....

Ron said...

No worries...my fainting couch has a cup holder built-in to hold my 64 oz Mountain Dew Code Red while I blog about what Rox! or Sux! and costumes. and breasts.

I'd install a vortex, but it's from The Department of Redundancy Department, don't ya know!

tituszenmasterextra said...

You know what is stressful?

Having a trick at your house at this momen that you thought you liked 2 hours ago and now is throwing up all over your bathroom and onto your rugs.

Now you understand why I don't bring people to my house.

He keeps on saying I am sorry but can't get up and won't get out.

Help me fellow republicans. I am currently in hell.

Also, he lives in southern New Jersey and doesn't know how he is getting home.

I am like Amtrak is that way.

tituszenmasterextra said...

Also the rare clumbers are in a tizzy and totally pissed.

tituszenmasterextra said...

My chakras are currently really fucked up.

tituszenmasterextra said...

Oh dear he is running to the bathroom again.

The noise of him throwing up totally diminshes our love making sounds from a few hours ago.

Galgon, take me away.

tituszenmasterextra said...

OK, he just left. He was supposed to be at work today at 9:00 but didn't know the phone number and didn't have a phone.

He told me he had fun and gave me he phone which had a prefix of 919. I said what is that number and he said North Carolina, don't ask.

He just left. He didn't know where he was or where he was going.

That was fun-not.

tituszenmasterextra said...

Why was my 3:45 comment deleted. There was nothing nasty about it.

Also, it showed my euphoria at that moment and it was nice contrast to the disappointment I suffered a couple of hours later.

Finn Kristiansen said...

Wow. I don't know. $10 a post does not seem too bad to me. Of course, when you make $10 to $15 an hour doing utterly mind numbing phone work, writing seems somewhat pleasant. (And when you quit doing such phone work without replacement job, $10/post seems really good).

Let's see. Two posts an hour puts you at $160 for 8 hours, or $41,600 per year. A not undecent sum. Not to mention that a lot of bloggers take to adding pictures, video, or a short "Heh" or sarcasms without much value add. A good 20 perecent of your posts can be quite simple.

I would imagine there are people in truly horrible jobs that would jump at the chance for even half the money.

Trooper York said...

Hey what about comments? I think we should get something for really cool comments. At least a t-shirt
that said;

I had an Althouse Comment.

Ann Althouse said...

"Help me fellow republicans. I am currently in hell."

Here's my help: I prescribe abstinence.

Also, I didn't delete your post. It think it's in another thread.

***

"Let's see. Two posts an hour puts you at $160 for 8 hours, or $41,600 per year. A not undecent sum. Not to mention that a lot of bloggers take to adding pictures, video, or a short "Heh" or sarcasms without much value add. A good 20 perecent of your posts can be quite simple."

Yes, my posts are comparatively long. If I was being paid by the post, I'd reshape my behavior and write more short posts. I should also note that the amount paid per post increases at those places as you get the traffic up. So I would get more than $10 a post. I could easily, by writing short posts, write 5 times as many. But I don't think they'd pay me $150,000 (which is the amount I think I should be making blogging).

Kirby Olson said...

I think blogging could be considered community service, like volunteering at a shelter, or helping the young to become literate. I don't see why everything has to have a dollar value attached. It almost delegitimates many activities in my mind that you are being PAID to do it. You should want to do it, and doing it for free demonstrates that.

It's just a conversation, and people shouldn't be paid to have conversations (necessarily).

JSF said...

Blogging is not stressful -- It is a balance to other things I do in my life.

At the moment, I am taking a break from the Blog and two books I am writing (One non-fiction [which the Althouse Vortex is explained and remarked upon] and one fiction book)for personal reasons.

Writing is not hard work. If the NYT is really complaining about the lack of financial support, maybe they should be Corporate sponsors of different Bloggers.

But I can always use more links, where is my NYT or Los Angeles Times article?.

My posts are about specific issues and I try to email the posts to people whose views would corralate (or oppose) the posts. Usually I ask for comments or email. Within the Left Blogosphere, when I send issues for them to comment on, I get nothing. When I send issues to the Right Blogosphere, I usually get an email.

And our delightful Professor? She is the middle, you convince her, you convince the zeitgeist of the Blogosphere.

ed waldo said...

Repeat this mantra over and over faster and faster until you feel better, Ann:

Ohwah

Tahnah

Siam


That should relieve your stress.

Jack said...

At my current rate (I blog for free) I don't have to obsess over quality or quantity.

$10 an hour isn't enough to get my attention. $41,600 isn't enough to support a family.

Maybe if I was single and 22 it might be interesting, but for now it just doesn't cut it.

blake said...

I think we oughtta be paid for reading some of the comments.

Finn Kristiansen said...

Jack@1:31pm

If $41,600 is by your dictum not enough to support a family, fully half of America can't support a family, because that number is pretty close to the median income for men (in 2006). One would assume such a number would be combined with a spouse, raising the median household income. Chances are, you are woefully inaccurate.

Such being the case, I assume you live on the coasts, are just in a well paying job, or living well above your means and can't imagine earning less (or not being able to have more stuff).

But that pay, and for writing, is not bad, versus some less pleasant work. Or versus the bulk of the work in crappy jobs that most Americans have to do. It's more than teachers make in many places.

And of course, earning something like 150,000 for blogging is generally not possible, so if one is used to that type of compensation, then naturally your blogging is going to be entirely for joy.

Jack said...

Finn,

It is not enough, not where I live. Let's say that you are right and that $41,600 is the median income for men.

Median doesn't provide proof that it is enough to support a family.

In fact there are so many variables here it is hard to have a real discussion about it.

How large a family are we talking about? What kind of housing, house, condo, apartment etc.

What about transportation. Are we supposed to include two cars, or one. Maybe it is public transportation we should use in this discussion.

The point here is that I wasn't speaking for anyone but myself. But if you want to talk about it on a larger scale we could certainly do so.