Confessions of a Blog Addict

You’re sitting in front of your computer, the light from your monitor burning a hole in your retnas and all you want to do is get up another post. You finally find something to write about but while writing you open up another tab in your browser and check out your top 5 or 10 new sources to make sure that there isn’t something more urgent that needs to be posted about. This isn’t how it starts. This is the beginning of the end.

It starts with the rush you get from a surge in traffic to your site whether it is coming from Digg, StumbleUpon, Techmeme or any other news aggregator. The rush isn’t a warning sign, it’s simply one of the first steps toward blog addiction. The rush that you feel from the jump in traffic doesn’t last long. As you look over your Google Analytics, MyBlogLog traffic counter, incoming traffic from Hittail, feed stats on Feedburner and a number of other sources, you realize that you need more.

The biggest problem with a blog is the emotional attachment that you had from the onset. You don’t want to give it up and you only want more, more of that rush of seeing your name plastered atop some random news aggregator that says you are king of the hill, if only for a few minutes. Few people congratulate you but somewhere in the back of your mind you are thinking that you can take on anybody.

It is at this exact moment that suddenly you are becoming a full blown blogger and potential addict. Us bloggers love to talk about ourselves because we are the experts. 95 percent of people are experts in themselves but a smaller 5 percent decide to write about something else outside of our personal lives. For that smaller segment, our writing is all the more important because we want to be honored for the written translation of our momentary thoughts of genius.

All day long you will begin to search for those thoughts of genius and if you’ve become a blogging addict, thoughts of genius eventually begin to merge with mediocrity. At this point your mind is buzzing from content exhaustion but all you can do is continue to write, continue to push out that next sentence. For the typical blog addict, sentences rapidly lose their value and words suddenly become filler.

Am I apologetic for the written filth that I frequently produce? Not at all. I am a blog addict and I know that somewhere in there is a hidden gem and my readers will be so fortunate as to find that gem and hold it close to their hearts. I also know that I’m only kidding myself because in reality my readers only glance over my content which has now become a source of their own content exhaustion.

Really, all you need is that one hit. That hit where suddenly you are catapulted to the top or at least standing with the leaders. That one hit leads to multiple hits on your website and suddenly the hudreds of visitors that you have viewing your name for half a second suddenly mean something to you. A few of them might even stop to say hello. Hi!

While I will never know most of you, I will know some and that’s all that matters. Among us blog addicts we all know what that rush feels like and for some reason we have begun chasing after it. We click publish even though we know a post looks like shit just because we think that post could make us king of the hill again.

We fight to get a press release 1 minute earlier than the others because in our world somehow this 1 minute has suddenly made a difference in our lives. At this point they might as well just connect me to the computer and feed me content because at some point it became all I wanted: more content. David Carr highlighted the vicious cycle over a year ago:

Now I have become a day trader, jacked in to my computer and trading by the second in my most precious commodity: me. How do they like me now? What about … now? Hmmmm … Now?

The cycle can destroy you and I have met many people who it has. I meet them on a regular basis at conferences and various events. I now look in the mirror and see it in myself and suddenly I’ve begun wondering when did life suddenly become about the momentary celebrity? I somehow suddenly crave this attention which is ultimately nowhere near as valuable as that which a family member can provide.

The reality is that expression is part of human nature and we all crave the connection we get when others empathize with that which we express. The blog empowers this connection but just as economics teaches us, it has diminishing returns. That is what a blog addict has to look forward to. While I cannot advise others what decisions to make, I can tell you that I will surely be making new decisions based on my findings while living the life of a blog addict.