A May 25 New York Times Magazine cover story about the hazards of oversharing titled "Blog-Post Confidential," by former Gawker blogger (circa 2006 to 2007) Emily Gould, inspires such vitriol that the Times shuts down the comments function on the online version of her piece after accruing hundreds of frequently vicious comments.
What the hell happened to the blogger as media-cultural hero? In Gould’s case, it didn’t help that during her tenure at Gawker, she was known for being ultra-snarky, so there’s an obvious bit of turnabout-is-fair-play-ism at work here. Of course, anybody who read Vanessa Grigoriadis’ New York magazine deconstruction of the bloggy "culture of bile" last fall knows that Gould is just a bit player in a larger drama. In March, Michael Arrington, of TechCrunch fame — in the wake of the suicide of advertising exec Paul Tilley, who many indelicately speculated had been distraught about attacks he’d endured from ad-industry blogs — wrote a post titled "When Will We Have Our First Valleywag Suicide?" about Gawker Media’s Silicon Valley blog and the distress it causes in its often blindsided subjects. And then Ricky Van Veen, the editor in chief of College Humor, writing on his thoughtful (generally noncomedic) personal blog, speculated that Gawker Media’s cruelest bloggers could be, yes, murder victims if one of their more thin-skinned targets snapped.
As for the notion of the self-actualized, non-wage-slave blogger? That’s turned out to be, for many semi-famous bloggers, complete bullshit. Never mind all the hype about the select few blog stars, mostly in the tech realm, who are actually getting rich doing what they’re doing; they’ve invariably fashioned unhealthy, obsessive-compulsive-disordered lifestyles for themselves way worse than anything any old-media slave drivers ever concocted. (See: GigaOm blogger Om Malik, heart attack victim at 41.)