Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop

with 3 comments

New York Times

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.

Apparently some bloggers are “paid by the piece”. For the record, I am not paid. Period. Not for this blog or the one on Blogspot or the pieces on Vancouver Metblog.

I have recently been paid for some of my pictures. Not often and not enough. But something.

I do not do this for money. The internet was not built that way. Much the best feature of the internet experience is how much is given away – software, operating systems, information. And usually the free stuff is better than the stuff people sell. In fact the harder they try to sell it, the less I want it.

Blogging is simply about passing along what I have found and what I think about it. It is to some extent a way to give away the sort of analysis that clients and governments used to pay me for. Not that they paid much attention. I used to get the feeling sometimes that they regarded what I said as wrong because I was saying it. They accused me of paranoia. But fortunately I have been shown to have been right more often than wrong.

We all of us need others to pay attention to us. The cruelest thing society can do is to shun someone. Unfortunately since so much of the media here is in so few hands, and the control of the media is used to mainly to reinforce one world view (despite their claims about “balance”) that many of us seek other outlets for our views. It seems that there will be times when we have to force the powers that be to listen – since their pantomime of “consultation” is so ineffective. In between those times it is important I think to keep up a steady flow of what I hope looks like reason and thought and not just invective.

The only rewards I get are your comments and page views. And they are greatly appreciated.

Written by Stephen Rees

April 21, 2008 at 8:52 am

3 Responses

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  1. The article by the times was just old media convulsion, a flailing of rhetorical arms and stomping of feet over the way their industry has ripped up by online media while they sat by, grousing about amateurs with arms crossed. From facebook-panic stories to ‘bloggers dropping dead’, it’s just transparent fear mongering.

    Are we to believe that in the deadline-driven world of newspapers, not one reporter has been over-worked and over-stressed to the point of collapse? If the Times and other established media had looked to embrace amateur publishing as a distributed source of tips, like CBC is doing, or as a source of material for collaboration and co-publishing, I suspect they’d be doing better than trying to stir up non-stories about the health-hazards of blogging.

    I read the stuff I read because I like it – it informs, challenges, surprises and entertains. If it abuses my attention and intelligence (like the naked avertorial ‘Wheels’ section of the Vancouver Sun, for example), I move on. Somehow this model continues to evade mainstream publishing.

    Todd Sieling

    April 21, 2008 at 11:47 am

  2. I caught on to this story a little while ago, when I was hearing about how bloggers-for-hire are literally being overworked. My experience at EPIC ’08 blogging for HappyFrog was that just about EVERYONE seemed to embrace the new social media outlets, and were thrilled that they were getting coverage. I for one was astonished.

    You posted about this a while ago (the sheer volume of content that you produce). The thing is, in my opinion, you do this because you love it and because you think you have something to say to the world that can be beneficial to society.

    That is also my case. I blog because I love it. The reason why my blog is called ‘Random Thoughts of a Student of the Environment’ is precisely because it is my random thoughts. Your blog is extraordinary in more ways than one, and I know you have a more personal, less transportation-oriented blog, but mine is non-specialized (though I throw in a lot of enviro-geek content).

    Anyway, this comment is WAY too long. My point is – I enjoy reading your blog, and I certainly hope you don’t overwork yourself with it to the point where you will be exhausted as these bloggers-for-hire are.


    April 22, 2008 at 12:22 am

  3. Stephen, your blog is very informative and I certainly hope the rewards you receive, though non-monetary, exceed the energy you expend, or at least achieves balance.

    People are listening and responding, and that’s important. Further, there is a kind of network of like-minded souls that could lead to organizing and helping each other to meet the challenges we will all experience especially in food security in a few short years. That may well prove invaluable.

    I cetainly hope you are encouraged to continue your good work for many years … with the occasional vacation of course.

    Raul – long comments are often the most informative, especially when they are purposely constructive. So, you keep up the good work too.


    April 22, 2008 at 10:51 am

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