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What’s the Lifespan of a Big-Time Blogger?

One of the more fascinating things about the high-tech blogosphere is the people working for big-time blogs such as TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb, GigaOm, Engadget and Mashable who write multiple stories a day, all day. They write in the morning, they write in the afternoon and they write late at night. They are writing machines.

Having been a pretty prolific newspaper reporter for 15 years, I can tell you that my production was nowhere close to what these bloggers pump out each and every day. Frankly, it strikes me as exhausting given writing is mentally and creatively taxing, especially if you writing multiple posts a day.

Given the non-stop pace and pressure to produce and compete, I’m convinced the lifespan of a big-time blogger can’t be that long. It seems inconceivable someone could writing that many posts for years and year. So my take is two to three years is likely the most a blogger could stick it out before considering other less arduous endeavours.

This struck home when Chris Ziegler announced his departure from Engadget to pursue other interests. It appears Ziegler was not particularly pleased with working at Engadget after the blog’s sale to AOL, and it may have encouraged his decision to move on. At the same time, the AOL sale may have given Ziegler an “out” after pounding away at Engadget.

In an ideal world, bloggers would have more time to write posts and fewer posts to write a day. But the reality is blogs are built on an economic foundation of volume. The more stories created, the more pageviews generated and, in theory, the more advertising revenue. At the same time, blogs need to keep their costs in check so having a small team of highly-productive bloggers is another economic reality.

It may be a great way to run a business but it is probably not a great environment to keep your writers long-term.

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  • http://jimhanas.com Jim Hanas

    Interesting post that confirms something I’ve been thinking about — which is that the standards for how much writing it is even possible to produce have changed. I started out as an alt-weekly reporter, and 5000+ words per week was not unusual. Mike Royko, who wrote five columns per week, probably turned out around that many, and he liked to mock competitors with less-than-daily columns as lightweights. But, as you say, bloggers are turning out way more words than that.

    One reaction is to assume the words aren’t so good, that they’re merely “good enough” to get by. But maybe not. I seem to recall stories about Damon Runyon churning out 5000K per day at the Lindbergh trial, which leads me to wonder if the standards for journalistic productivity haven’t waxed and waned over the years. I’d like to see a study on that.

    • http://www.markevanstech.com Mark Evans

      Jim,

      When you need to pump out multiple blog posts, it is probably difficult to maintain quality for each and every one. The question is whether blog readers care more about getting information than they do that it’s high quality. Thanks for the comment.

      Mark

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