SAN FRANCISCO â€”  They work long hours, often to exhaustion. Many are paid by the piece â€” 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.
Of course, the bloggers can work elsewhere, and they profess a love of the nonstop action and perhaps the chance to create a global media outlet without a major up-front investment. At the same time, some are starting to wonder if something has gone very wrong. In the last few months, two among their ranks have died suddenly.
Two weeks ago in North Lauderdale, Fla., funeral services were held for Russell Shaw, a prolific blogger on technology subjects who died at 60 of a heart attack. In December, another tech blogger, Marc Orchant, died at 50 of a massive coronary. A third, Om Malik, 41, survived a heart attack in December.
Other bloggers complain of weight loss or gain, sleep disorders, exhaustion and other maladies born of the nonstop strain of producing for a news and information cycle that is as always-on as the Internet.
Of course, what the Times doesn’t mention is that the same stresses that drive such Bloggers as they list, are driving those at the disosaur media, such as, for example, the New York Times. No shock, that, I suppose. The Times ignored Jayson Blair for how long?
What they also don’t dare mention is that the bloggers have been mopping the floor with the Dinosaur media for some time, now. That’s crucial, I think, in the understanding of just why the Times went to print with this story. One doesn’t have to be Fellini to figure out the subliminal message of this particular film: “You can’t win against us. ” Or, perhaps more graphically, “You can win a few battles, but you’ll die going against us”.
Nah, the Times doesn’t have any motivation in the matter. Right?