A recent article the New York Times suggests blogging is a hazardous game. They cite cases of full-time Bloggers who have died and point the finger at the strain they’ve been under to maintain their new media presence. It is interesting that technology blogging, with it’s pressure to be first, seems to be the focus of the article.
In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop - New York Times
SAN FRANCISCO — 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…
While any death is tragic, I can’t imagine blogging being more stressful than many other occupations and think it’s just sensationalism to it single out.
Consuming blogs, information overload?
An amateur like me doesn’t have the pressure to post for income there is one blog related hazard I’ve struggled to avoid. I read lots of blogs and there is a tendency to consume ever increasing amounts of information. A post leads to a new blog, grab the feed, then another, grab that feed, and one day you find yourself looking at a reader tracking nearly a thousand RSS feeds!
I’ve found three ways to deal with that problem;
- Reading them all is one, but a hardly sustainable, approach.
- Set a quota at the number of feeds you can handle and cull feeds. If you want to add one you must delete one but that limited the scope too much. The downside is you miss a lot of brilliant information.
- If nothing is happening or you need to catch up just “mark all as read”!
I tend to combine all these using RSS Bandit’s “Review Flag” and my own “Favourites”;
- I collect “favourite feeds” which are my prime sources in a category (1) such as Home, IT, News, CAD etc
- If I have time I’ll scan all the feed headlines (2) to find content I want to read. If the item is short I’ll read it in the “Newspaper view” (3), or maybe open a browser tab (4). For longer items I click “Flag” (5) to mark them “For Review”. It means all those feeds can be reviewed in less than half an hour. How much time I spend actually reading depends on what I find!
- If I’m short of time, or just want to catch up, I resort to my “Favourites”. By reading them the I can review about 50 feeds which cover topics as as diverse as CAD, Auto, Sport, Politics, Science etc. If one of those highlights something of interest I might still delve into the 10, 20, 30 , 100+ feeds relating to that topic. Otherwise I may just mark all the items “as read”.
I regard the feeds as a way to gather info rather than something which must be religiously read in full. You don’t feel obliged to read all the newspapers or watch all the TV News channels! However, they do provide rapid access to sources – either professional or personal – I regard as important to follow.
Creating a blog – A choice, not a chore!
I’m often asked how much time I spend writing this blog and, to be honest, I’m not really sure. While it’s probably along the lines of 5–10 hours a week I don’t regard it as a chore and certainly don’t schedule time for it. My natural night owl tendencies mean posts are usually written late in the evening which is probably apparent from the writing & proof reading! It’s time I’d probably waste on TV so doesn’t impact on my “real life” whatever that is! Besides, it’s something I enjoy doing and if it ever becomes “work” it’s time to stop!
While items appear reasonably frequently that’s a bit of an illusion. I tend to write in bursts so a few hours writing may generate several weeks of posts. I then use TypePad’s forward posting feature to schedule these to appear at a reasonable rate. If “blog worthy” breaking news crops up I just bump those forward posts even further into the future. The funny side of this is I have been asked about a post, which just appeared on the blog, but was actually written so long ago I’ve almost forgotten about it!
There is more to life than blogging and I’m going off-line for a few, hopefully completely computer free, weeks holiday soon. Still, there will plenty to blog about when I return…