Some bloggers worry about effect on life offline

Amy Sherman recently woke up at 4 a.m. in a panic. Why wasn’t her food blog getting as much traffic as others?

“I daydream about the blog throughout the day. . . . I worry about it at night. I sometimes put as much energy into it as my job,” said Sherman, 40, a self-employed marketing consultant in San Francisco who makes no money from her blog, Cooking With Amy (

Sherman and many others who publish the online journals known as Weblogs, or “blogs” for short, have discovered the addictive nature of blogging. What starts out as a hobby for some can end up permeating their lives and minds. Some of the diarists post repeatedly throughout the day, juggle several blogs and feel anxious if they don’t write. Most dedicated bloggers say the endeavor has enriched their lives, but some worry about finding balance and keeping their obsession in check.

“There is a narcotic quality to it,” said Anil Dash, a prominent 29-year-old San Francisco technology blogger ( “The more you post, the more readers you get. It’s easy for people to get sucked into it.”

San Jose, Calif., blogger Rachel Pottol, who writes about life with toddlers, constantly composes blog posts in her head for her site ( As she goes through her day, the 26-year-old makes mental notes of good fodder: her daughter being entranced by the “Happy Birthday” song, her arguments with her husband, her work as a mother’s helper. She set up Internet access on her cell phone just so she can check e-mail hourly for reader comments. “It’s a way for me to connect with other moms,” she said. “I feel like it’s my job to keep these people entertained.”

Blogs have become a fixture on the Internet landscape, with 14 new ones created every minute, according to Technorati, which tracks nearly 7 million blogs. “Blog” was the most looked-up word at Merriam-Webster’s dictionary Web site last year.

Many blogs are a chronicle of experiences and feelings. Others focus on a topic – sports, food, hobbies, politics, pets.

For most people, blogs are a healthy means of self-expression and validation, said Boston psychologist John Grohol, who studies online behavior. Most digital diarists find gratification in connecting with readers. Some feel the need to apologize to readers if they have not updated enough.

But blogging can become so all-consuming that it overshadows reality. “They spend enormous amounts of time blogging rather than living,” Grohol said.