It’s midnight and I’m doing what I usually do at midnight – working. In fact, the reason I haven’t really written much of substance here for the past few weeks (months?) is ’cause I’ve been so tired of hearing myself talk about how busy I am.

A lot of my friends these days are professional or semi-professional bloggers … or at least have professions that are involved with blogging. So, we’ve all been talking about this New York Times article. (NYT obviously knew this was link-bait …)

Who doesn’t want to be a professional writer? It’s what every office employee, every hipster sitting in the cafe corner with their moleskin, every disgruntled school teacher all secretly admit to their friends. So, new millenium, and anyone can be a professional writer.

Anyone who is paid to spend time online is part of the same roaring river. We see each other at conferences, we know what the others had for lunch via Twitter, and we try to write something at least once a week that hasn’t already been thought-up or mentioned somewhere else. The New York Times article was a microcosm of the process. Matt Richtel says bloggers are the white-frocked workers of the digital-era sweatshop. Then, bloggers down several cups of coffee and come up with more nuanced explanations. As usual, one of my favorites came from danah (I love Puffins!!):

Underneath the sensationalism, there’s a core point here: those who are passionate about what they do do it to extremes. And when there’s the perception of a race (even if it’s self-imposed), it’s far too easy to take the extremes over the edge. I certainly spent my 20s running around like a chicken with my head cut off, trying not to miss a single thing. It wasn’t for my blog per say – it was for “research.” I had to know everything the moment that it happened and I followed web developments like a hawk. My blog turned into the space where I spewed all of my pent-up energy out.

One of my university professors told us during a lecture, “10 years later, none of you are going to remember anything I’ve said this semester. That’s OK. But I do want you to remember this and only this: do not allow yourself to become addicted to stress. It is the sickness of our society.”

She was right. It’s the only thing I remember of the class. Hell, I don’t even remember the title or topic of the class. But that statement has stayed with me forever.

I think that many of my friends are waking up right now and realizing they’ve been addicted to stress for too long. Every new conference I go to I notice that my blogging friends have gained a little more weight, that they look a little less healthy. Looking back at Flickr pictures of me from years ago, I’m nowhere near as healthy or athletic as I had been then. You just can’t be in shape while sitting in front of the computer 12 hours a day.

I still absolutely love my job. There is nothing I’d rather be doing. Which is why I’ve been taking it to the extreme, like danah writes. But even if you love your job, 12 hour days 7 days a week is just too much. So, I’m making some changes. This will be my last week doing the nightly digest for Global Voices. I’ve been reading every post on Global Voices and then summarizing it all each night for over two years now. It’s amazing to look back at that first month of digests and see how far Global Voices has grown since January of 2006. The talented Deborah Ann Dilley will be taking over.

Also, next week I am going to take three days off. Three days, no laptop. That is something that hasn’t happened since … since I don’t know when.

… And now it’s time to get back to work. Because there is much more to life than me complaining, copied below is today’s GV digest. If you haven’t been reading Global Voices lately, there’s now better time to start back up – the content has really been fantastic lately.

Afghanistan: First blogging workshop in Kabul

The Afghan Association of Blog Writers overcame financial difficulty and obstacles like electricity shortages to organize their country’s first blogging workshop. The workshop was held in Kabul on April 3-4 in association with Nasim Fekrat and Masoumeh Ebrahimi, two active Afghan bloggers. Translating from Farsi, Hamid Tehrani sums up the experiences both of workshop facilitators and participants.

Egypt: Bloggers on the Frontline

Egyptian bloggers worked round-the-clock to tell the world about a workers’ revolt that shook their country, as thousands rioted at a textile mill in Al Mahalla, demanding better pay and protesting against increasing prices. They were also among the first casualties of the unrest, which left two people killed, scores injured, and an undetermined number of activists – like Facebook user, Esraa Abdul Fattah – behind bars.

Sri Lanka: Stop the War on Journalists

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), an organization which aims to protect and strengthen the rights and freedoms of journalists, is calling for a Global Day of Action on April 10 titled “Stop the War on Journalists in Sri Lanka.” Sri Lankan bloggers offer more context.

Macedonia: Bloggers Discuss NATO Summit and Greece

Filip Stojanovski, author of the “Timeline of the Macedonian Blogosphere”, posts his first contribution to Global Voices, translating several local reactions to Greece’s obstruction of Macedonia’s entry to NATO.

The South African Blog Awards

On April 2nd, The South African Blog Awards were held in Cape Town to a great turnout of bloggers. Here’s how the event went in their own words.

Video on Flickr: An apple of dischord

Less than a day after the popular photo-sharing website Flickr announced that users can now upload videos up to 90 seconds long, thousands of registered users have joined groups protesting the decision. But amongst the uproar and analysis, few people have bothered to look at what videos Flickr users have been uploading. Juliana Rincón points the way from the streets of Vietnam to southern Sudan to Mt. Fuji.

Morocco: Prison Break

On Monday, nine men convicted of involvement in the 2003 suicide bombings in Casablanca went missing from a prison in Kenitra. Prisoner rights advocacy group Ennassir said that the escape coincided with the beginning of a hunger strike by about 1,000 prisoners across Morocco. A search is underway, but the prisoners have yet to be found. Jillian York brings us reactions from the Moroccan blogosphere.


Using SMS to get coffee prices in Uganda, buying rice in Bangladesh, iTunes Canada pulls controversial Jamaican artists … and lots more in today’s Global Roundups.