Blogging Versus Working

Michael at 2blowhards (although there appear to be four listed in the sidebar) considers the economics of blogging and observes,

According to usage and stats tables, approximately 150% of blogging activity takes place during what are usually considered to be “work hours.” Which a non-economist might take to suggest a few things, such as 1) A lot of people are underemployed, 2) A lot of people feel that they aren’t able to contribute much of what they have to offer at the workplace, and 3) A lot of people find blogging more rewarding than job-style working.

Well, yeah.

Maintaining a good blog is a lot of work; more so than most jobs, frankly. But few people can make a living living “the life of the mind.” Aside from perhaps think tank fellows, syndicated columnists, and endowed chairs at truly elite universities, not too many jobs I can think of allow people to read what they want, write about what they want, and chat with interested visitors from around the planet. And think tankers and columnists have deadlines to meet and even the most privileged professors have the occasional paper to grade and committee meeting to attend.

As the reminder to those complaining about having to do stuff they don’t want to on the job goes, “That’s why they call it work.”

There are a growing number of bloggers making a living at it. For the most part, though, I suspect they have done so by turning it into work.

Hat tip: Tyler Cowing

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, Education,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Gollum says:

    There was a piece on the New York Law Journal not long ago about blogging at work (and not necessarily blogging “for” work), from which I took away this:

    Twelve percent of the recently surveyed Fortune 1000 executives reported taking legal or other action in response to a[n employee] blog. There is even a term on the Internet for getting fired for a blog, “dooced,” taken from the name of the blog

    I have a little more (but not much more) about blogging at work here.

  2. Triumph says:

    Maintaining a good blog is a lot of work;.

    You’ve been listening to too many of Bush’s speeches James!

  3. Brian says:

    What are these “usually considered to be ‘work hours'” that Michael refers to?

    Actually, I’m also having trouble getting my head around 150% used in this context. There are a lot of activities I wish I could do 150% at any point during the day, but I digress.

    Admittedly I may bang out a blog entry at work. I’ve got a Firefox add-in that makes this very easy and quick to accomplish. And, as I’m in the process of looking something up on the internet for work I may, if a headline catches my eye, stop and read a non-work piece.

    At the same time I will admit to knocking out an eval after supper or working on a project over the weekend in the friendly confines of my home.

    It seems to me that one of the by-products of technology is the erosion of barriers between sections of our lives.

  4. James Joyner says:


    I think the 150% number was snark, not an actual statistic.

    And I agree on the fungibility of time argument, although employers are a lot more understanding of you doing their work on your time than vice-versa.