The Thinker

Slow down, you blog too fast

I am a blogger and a bloggee. I have been blogging since December 2002. I have racked up 887 posts (including this one) and have posted over 994,000 words on this blog. (See the current running total here, at the bottom of the page.) In about five more posts I will have published over a million words in this blog, which should get me some sort of blogging award, but doubtless will not.

Blogging though can be dangerous to your health. I am confident that one of the first new psychological conditions to be named in the 21st century, if it has not be labeled already, will be excessive blogging. Moreover, if you ask me, one of the first one to keel over will be this guy.

Andrew Sullivan, you are one craaaaazy blogger. Andrew, if you are trying to win some sort of contest for being the most prolific blogger then congratulations, your blog The Daily Dish wins hands down. I like blogging too so please take this advice in the charitable way it is intended: you need to slow down. You need to slow way down.

As I write this, it is about 7:40 p.m. EDT. Andrew Sullivan, a blogger for The Atlantic magazine, published his last blog post at 7:23 p.m. His first post of the day was at 7:04 a.m. Thus far, he has blogged 61 posts today. Last night his final blog post was at 11:43 p.m.

I do not know if this volume of posts as well as these numbers of hours a day he spends blogging is typical for Sullivan or not. For the few weeks that I have been reading his blog, it seems to be. My guess is he posts fifty to eighty blog entries a day and is blogging on average fourteen to sixteen hours a day.

You might think he would take the weekends off at least. Perhaps he does but during this election season, he just seems content to keep blogging seven days a week. I consider blogging a hobby. I have to assume that Andrew Sullivan finds blogging addicting. I am glad he is getting a few hours of sleep in there, but his blogging habit is just crazy. For fifteen hours a day seven days a week he sits in front of a computer seeming doing little else but reading other blogs and news sites and posting interesting tidbits he finds on his blog.

It might help if there were some variety in his posts but aside from the occasional mental health break post, such as a music video, they are relentlessly political. I imagine he is also juggling a ton of email, as well as making forays into the kitchen for food and doubtless hurried trips to the bathroom. Perhaps to keep in shape he blogs from his treadmill. (It must be hard to type and walk at the same time.) Perhaps he has a laptop with wireless which lets him blog from his back porch where he can get a little sun and hear a little nature. I sure hope he is doing all these things. Regardless, I doubt that this sort of obsessive behavior is good for him, good for his readers and good for his employer, The Atlantic magazine.

If I were his boss, I would give him strict orders: confine all blogging from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Write no more than five blog posts a day. Spend the rest of your workday keeping up on email, blogs and other news sites. At 5 p.m. though, turn it off! Turn off the computer. Get on your bike or head to the gym. Buy some organic produce at your local Whole Foods. Take a stroll around a lake and watch the ducks quack. See a movie once a week that does not have politics as a theme.

Granted, Andrew Sullivan is a very intelligent man with an impressive resume. His political leanings are libertarian. He was the editor of The New Republic for five years in the 1990s. Back in the 1980s, he was one of the first to argue for same sex marriages. He is also arguably the world’s oldest blogger. He started his blog, The Daily Dish in late 2000 before the term “blog” had even been coined. Last week, he even showed up as a guest commentator on The Friday Weekly News Roundup on NPR’s The Diane Rehm Show. I am surprised he could find time to get away from his blogging. I bet he brought his laptop with him to the show and was blogging from the studio’s antechamber, if not during the program breaks also.

Blogging can probably kill you. The late lamented blogger Steve Gilliard may have died, in part, from blogging. Like Sullivan, he was generally blogging from early in the morning until late at night. Gilliard’s obesity was likely a major contribution to his death too, but sitting all day in front of a computer certainly didn’t help either. I hope Andrew Sullivan stops, or at least starts to pace himself, before it is too late.

For myself, I will never be that obsessive about blogging. Blogging is an important part of my life. I take pride in my blogging and my longevity of Occam’s Razor. My philosophy though is that blogging should be a measured part of my life, not its all consuming purpose. Since blogging is not paying the rent, it helps to be the family breadwinner with a full time job as a distraction. With commute and lunch breaks, my job slices nearly twelve hours out of my workday anyhow. I would rather blog relatively infrequently (every two to three days between posts on average) and feel like I have said something very well than blog constantly like Sullivan. Even though my share of blog readers is miniscule compared with Sullivan’s (200 to 300 page views a day, on average), I am happier with less notoriety, a small market presence and my health. After all, to blog with some authority you have to experience life. That is hard to do if you are plugged into the blogosphere virtually every waking hour.

Andrew, here’s hoping we see a lot less of you online. In return, I hope we see fewer yet better and more thoughtful posts for many years to come.

 

4 Responses to “Slow down, you blog too fast”

  1. 5:36 am on October 29 2008, Eric Shackle said:

    Hi Mark. Greetings from Sydney,Australia.

    Andrew Sullivan is merely 45, according to Wikipedia. There are several bloggers more than twice his age.

    Here’s a list I compiled recently, that may interest you:

    CYBER WRITERS NINETY AND OVER
    Name Hometown Title Age at Aug 20, 2008
    Ivy Bean – Bolton, Yorkshire, UK: September 8, 1905 (oldest Facebooker) 102

    Frank Pelatowski – Merced, California: August 10, 1907 (oldest columnist) 101

    Ken Sillcock – Melbourne, Australia: Oct 24, 1910 (2nd oldest columnist) 97

    Maria Amelia Lopez – Galicia, Spain Dec 23, 1911 (oldest female blogger) 96

    Henry Jackson – London, UK: June 12,1912 (most amusing old columnist) 96

    Allan Loof – Finspang, Sweden: August 7, 1912 (most musical old blogger) 96

    Randall Butisingh, Florida: December 1, 1912 (most philosophical old blogger)95

    Ray (Dad) White – Knoxville, Tennessee:Sep 2, 1913 (best tomato-growing o.b.) 94

    Donald Crowdis – Toronto, Canada: Dec 24, 1913 (most erudite old blogger) 94

    ROLL OF HONOR
    Age at death
    Ruth Hamilton – Orlando, Florida: 1898-2008 (world’s oldest blogger until June 2008) 109

    Olive Riley – Woy Woy, Australia: 1899-2008 (world’s oldest blogger after June 2008) 108

    You may like to read a story about the world’s oldest bloggers, posted by the South Korean citizen reporters’ journal OhmyNewsInternational. Just click on http://tinyurl.com/5brv3d

  2. 6:52 am on October 29 2008, Mark said:

    Well, by “old” I didn’t mean age, I meant number of years spent blogging. By that measure, Andrew Sullivan is beyond geriatric.

  3. 6:00 am on October 30 2008, Eric Shackle said:

    The above list is already out of date. Today I received an email from Sweden with the sad news that Allan Loof has died, aged 96.

    Congratulatios on being about to write your millionth blog word.

  4. 7:43 am on October 30 2008, Pat Patterson said:

    Sir, if I may give my $0.02 …

    I started my blog a little over a year ago. I’m not one of those angry bloggers, if you will, who posts things that they hate and/or strongly dislike. Most bloggers seem to be angry and have nowhere else to dispose of that anger. I choose not to be one of those. I like sports, so I like to devote my blog to sports and other things that might be on my mind (if you weren’t aware, Sir, I am an uber-conservative, and I like to post occasional political comments and/or whatever else is on my mind). I try to keep a positive blog.

    However, if a day – or a week – go by without me writing a comment, oh well. Of course, here in Ohio, the high school football playoffs are underway (Ohio is one of the hotbeds for high school football, up there with Texas, Florida, and western Pennsylvania), so I will be on at least a few times a week. But if I don’t post every day, oh well…I’ll get over it.

    Thanks for indulging me. And before I go…

    BALDWIN FOR PRESIDENT !!!

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