Blogging CAN give you a heart attack!

1/11/2008:

This week, since people were astonished at my horrible diet, Hoboken411 reader Furey had sent me this NY Times Article, which eerily mentioned a stressed-out blogger who got a heart attack.

Before you read, I need to mention that running 411 isn’t “stressful” per se. My schedule is the only thing that concerns me (and my caffeine/lack of fruits and veggies.) You won’t see me stressing out. Overwhelmed most of the time? Yes. Stress and worry, no.

Read on:

Stress of Posting Is a Hazard to Their Health

hoboken-heart-attack-blog-diet-stress.jpgOm Malik’s blog, GigaOm, regularly breaks news about the technology industry. Last week, the journalist turned blogger broke a big story about himself. Mr. Malik, 41, blogged that he had suffered a heart attack on Dec. 28.

“I was able to walk into the hospital for treatment that night and have been recovering here ever since,” Mr. Malik wrote. “With the support of my family and my team, I am on the road to a full recovery. I am going to be O.K.”

His heart attack — and his blogging about it — raises the issue of what happens when a blogger becomes a name brand.

“The trouble with a personal brand is, you’re yoked to a machine,” said Paul Kedrosky, a friend of Mr. Malik’s who runs the Infectious Greed blog. “You feel huge pressure to not just do a lot, but to do a lot with your name on it. You have pressure to not just be the C.E.O., but at the same time to write, and to do it all on a shoestring. Put it all together, and it’s a recipe for stress through the roof.”

Mr. Malik has 12 employees, including a chief operating officer, and editors run some of his blogs, Yet, “It’s his name on the door,” Mr. Kedrosky said. “People want to know what Om Malik thinks. People want to see posts with Om Malik’s byline.”

Paul Walborsky, the chief operating officer for Mr. Malik’s company, Giga Omni Media, played down stress as a factor in Mr. Malik’s health. He noted Mr. Malik’s incessant smoking of cigars and cigarettes was a more likely cause.

In his post last Thursday, Mr. Malik blamed a variety of vices. “Friends and family have purged my apartment of smokes, scotch and all my favorite fatty foods — I am even going to be drinking decaf,” wrote Mr. Malik. His online avatar features a drawing of him wearing a press fedora and chomping a cigar, and until he rented an office last year he worked largely out of a Starbucks in San Francisco.

The day after his blog, more than 800 people had posted comments on Mr. Malik’s site wishing him a speedy recovery and offering lessons from their own health ailments. The sympathy rolled in from fellow journalists, start-up chief executives, venture capitalists, public relations professionals and, naturally, other tech bloggers.

Despite joining the exhortations that “we need you,” Mr. Kedrosky also warned, “If you come back to blogging before I give you permission, I’ll be at your door to take away your MacBook.”

Mr. Malik, a native of India, has written for tech and business magazines including Forbes, Red Herring and the recently shuttered Business 2.0. GigaOm started as his personal blog, but he left Business 2.0 in 2006 when venture capitalists financed his idea to turn the blog into a business.

It now operates several Web sites, including Web Worker Daily, NewTeeVee, Earth2Tech and Found/Read, each of which has its own arsenal of staff and freelance contributors.

Michael Arrington, who founded the popular TechCrunch blog, said he did not know to what extent stress had to do with Mr. Malik’s attack, “but the stress is crushing in what we do.”

“I was a corporate lawyer and an entrepreneur, and I know about working all the time. But now, you’re always worried a big story is breaking in your e-mail, and if you wait an hour, you’ll miss it. Every morning when I wake up, the panic hits and I have to see my e-mail as soon as possible.”

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