Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Blogger Sweatshop Revealed!

Earlier this week, I had my good friend and longtime friendly rival New York Times reporter Matt Richtel and his wife to our house for dinner, where conversation turned to his controversial article about the health dangers of blogging.

“Ouch,” said Richtel about the reaction to the piece.

richtel

After its appearance in the Times, Richtel (pictured here) got flamed all over the Web by bloggers and mainstream media types alike.

His offense? Using two recent blogger deaths and a heart attack of another blogger, Om Malik (also at our dinner), as the whisper-thin thread he hung his story on.

Actually, Richtel did have a lot of caveats in the piece, whose first problem was probably its very inflammatory title, “In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop,” along with an admittedly purplish lede:

“They work long hours, often to exhaustion. Many are paid by the piece–not garments, but blog posts. This is the digital-era sweatshop. You may know it by a different name: home.”

Well, I, for one, am pretty exhausted since I started blogging almost a year ago. But I am blaming that on my two sons, aged 3 and 6, whose perpetual-motion-machine energy is hard to keep up with at my advanced age.

A trend! Old-lady mothers of small boys who blog, attend a never-ending Little League game and never sleep! Get on it, Matt (who will know this cycle well soon enough–congrats)!

In any case, I think you pretty much have to give big mainstream media companies a semi-annual pass on three-examples-is-a-trend stories they so love.

And, at the very least, Richtel’s piece did result in some funny videos.

Like this one from BarelyPolitical.com (best known for foisting Obama Girl on the world), a comic investigative piece on blogger sweatshops:


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik