Monday, January 7, 2008

Blogging can cause a heart attack?

A story in the New York Times (Jan. 7) reveals the founder of GigaOm, a hot blog in the tech industry, recently had a heart attack. And although associates of Om Malik say the 41-year-old writer also smoked cigars and cigarettes, a friend of his notes the stress created by Malik's successful blog. I have to admit, blogging can be stressful. The Florida blog I write really creates headaches at times because the readership grew so rapidly and this increased not only my email but also many interesting calls about possible stories. (Note: I definitely prefer email). There are also advertising inquiries to keep up with. And if a Florida story breaks, I try to be one of the first to talk about it.

I also do a freelance blog, and it’s a little stressful too. Writing good posts requires quotes, research and locating images. You can’t do it in a flash. And you’re right there in front of the reader multiple times a week. You have to be interesting. Blogging, however, is also wild fun.

It’s exhilarating when you break a big story. One of the most unexpected exhilarating moments for me happened when I broke a story about a federal prosecution of people (one man is from Orlando) using Bit Torrents technology to copy and then sell movies and music. That story has drawn thousands of readers from around the world. I got a release from the FBI, but I had to do research in order to understand what Bit Torrents was. Live and learn because blogging can be a challenge.

Recently, The Wall Street Journal linked to a story about the alternative minimum tax I posted at Covering Florida. I liked the fact they found it useful.

When the writing business can really eat you alive is when you experience success like that achieved by Mr. Malik. His blog grew to a company employing 12 others, including a chief financial officer. A number of Web sites operate under his guidance. Malik was a successful writer, providing content to national and international publications, before he started his blog. His plight reminds me of what my Grandmother used to say, "Be careful what you wish for..."

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