Bloggers work in conditions of constant round-the-clock stress, to complete exhaustion and even death

    They work a lot, sometimes to the point of exhaustion. Many on piece-rate pay for published posts. This is a typical description of the digital age workplace. And it can be called differently: their home is their job.



    A growing number of active and energetic home workers and entrepreneurs, armed with computers and smartphones, are working hard in the face of the physical and emotional stress of the Internet industry, which requires inexhaustible flows of news and comments.

    Of course, bloggers can work in other places, and they themselves openly declare their interest in this continuous work, and maybe the opportunity to create a global media market without major upfront investments. But at the same time, some begin to wonder if everything is in order here. Over the past few months, two of their colleagues have suddenly died.

    Two weeks ago, in the city of North Lauderdale in Florida, at the age of sixty, Russel Show, a blogger who wrote fruitfully on IT topics, died of heart failure. In December, another IT blogger, fifty-year-old Marc Orchant, died of a massive heart attack. The third, forty-one-year-old Om Malik, suffered a heart attack in December.

    Many bloggers complain about weight loss or weight gain, sleep problems, exhaustion and other illnesses associated with constant stress while constantly searching and working with information and news, which, like the entire Internet, are always non-stop.

    Of course, there is no official diagnosis of death from blogging, and the premature demise of two people, of course, cannot qualify as an epidemic. Also, there is no complete certainty that it was the stress from work that caused their death. However, friends and families of the deceased, as well as their closest colleagues, say that these cases made them think about the dangers that their way of work and life poses.

    Even those who work for themselves and make good money experience problems.

    “I'm still alive!” Says Michael Arrington, creator and co-editor of TechCrunch, a popular IT blog. The site brought in millions of advertising revenue, but it all came at a very high price. Mr. Arrington says he has gained £ 30 over the past three years, earned severe sleep disruption, and turned his home into an office for himself and four of his employees. “At some point I’ll get a nervous breakdown, I’ll go to the hospital, or something else like that will happen.”

    “It's unbearable,” he says.

    It is not clear exactly how many people earn their living by publishing on blogs, but, of course, we are talking about several thousand, and maybe tens of thousands.

    The emergence of this class of information workers goes hand in hand with the development of the online industry. At first, journalism spread on the Internet, followed by advertising.

    Even in already established companies, the Internet has changed the essence of work, allowing you to organize virtual offices and work from anywhere at any convenient time. But this flexibility also has a downside - workers are freed from all kinds of office worries. But for obsessed workers, this may mean one thing: never leave your home.

    For some, blogging is profitable, but those who are at the lowest levels of this business can earn no more than $ 10 per post, and in some cases their work is paid on a sliding bonus scale, which at the same time as bonus for success requires even more effort. There are many online chroniclers who narrate and reflect on sports, politics, business, celebrities and all sorts of other things. Some write for fun, but thousands work for publishers as employees or contractors, or have started their own online media business for profit.

    One of the most competing categories is IT and news blogs. They are among themselves in a fierce and continuous struggle to release news, identify new products and expose corporate errors.

    The winner gets the attention of the audience and, as a result, the advertisers. Typically, the bloggers of such sites receive money for each post, but in some cases their payment depends on the number of people who read the material. Their audience is formed due to sensations, the volume of published material, or both factors simultaneously.

    Some sites, such as those owned by Gawker Media, pay bloggers fees and then bonuses when they reach their goal, for example, if their pages are viewed 100,000 times a month. Then the bar rises, as with trading commissions: the more you write, the more you earn.

    Bloggers at some major sites say that most earn from $ 30,000 a month, some around $ 70,000. Several tireless bloggers manage to achieve six-figure earnings, and some entrepreneurs have managed to build mini-empires in the network, which generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in income every month. While the rest who are trying to make this career say that all they can count on is $ 1,000 per month.

    Speed ​​is of utmost importance. It’s worth being a millisecond late, the readership, links and a large share of the profit for advertising will go to the author of another post on the same topic.

    “It doesn’t happen that I don’t worry about how not to miss the material, even when I’m sleeping,” says Mr. Arrington.

    “Wouldn't it be great to know for sure that not a single blogger or journalist will write anything from 8pm until dawn?” We could all take a break then, ”he adds. “But this will never happen!”

    This rivalry always makes one alert. Twenty-two-year-old Mat Bucknen is simply made for the job. He works on clicks for Gizmodo, a popular Gawker Media site that posts news about various technical gadgets. Matt lives in a small apartment in Brooklyn, in which his room is also his office.

    He says that he sleeps about five hours a day, and often he does not have time for proper nutrition. He regularly nourishes himself with protein supplements, which he mixes in coffee.

    But make no mistake: Matt Bucknen, a recent graduate of New York University, loves his job. He says that he makes money (without specifying how much) by writing and interacting with readers in a global discussion of the latest and most significant products.

    “The fact that several thousand people read me every day is just great,” he says. But at the same time it’s tiring “Sometimes you just want to lie down!”

    Sometimes he involuntarily falls asleep in front of a computer.

    “If there’s no news from Matt, I’ll think he’s dead,” said Brian Lam, editor of Gizmodo. “Such thoughts have already visited me four or five times.”

    Mr. Lam, who, as a manager, has significantly higher earnings, works even more. It is known that he spends all nights in his home office in San Francisco, editing his site. He says that he was well prepared for such tests, in the past he was engaged in Thai boxing.

    “I’m used to keep up the punch and therefore do a good job of this job!”

    Brian Lam says he is concerned that his people can literally burn out at work, so he makes them take breaks, even take holidays. But adds that they are still constantly under terrible pressure - external, internal and financial. The pay-per-click evolution has given greater importance to reader traffic and financial returns, but not to journalism in general.

    In the case of Russell Shaw, it is not clear what role stress played in his death. Ellen Green, who had been dating him for 13 months, testifies that the pressure placed on himself was monstrous. She says that they often discussed options for creating a healthier lifestyle for him, especially after the death of his friend, Mark Orchant.

    “The blogging community, looking at this, says:“ Oh no, it happened so quickly with two energetic people! ” - says Ellen. And everyone asks - “Could this happen to me too? !!”

    As for Russell Shaw, he did not die right at his desk. He died at a hotel in San Jose, California, where he flew in to cover a technical conference. In his last letter to the editor of ZDNet, he wrote - “Something I feel bad. I’ll take up posts a little later today or tomorrow ”...

    Translation made for Online-Journal of Internet Business

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