Posted by Amanda Chapel
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Owen Wilson and tabloid sensation aside, suicide tops the news today and in dramatic way: According to a yet to be release study by investigators at The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a significant spike is expected in the suicide rate among business bloggers.
Not surprisingly, the study found elevated rates of suicide for: White male physicians; Black male guards (including supervisors, crossing guards, police, protective service occupations); White female painters, sculptors, and especially craft-artists; and Farmers in the Midwest. However, according to NIOSH Director Daniel Weiss, M.D., M.P.H., "Recent developments associated with the Internet have us all on alert." Weiss added, "All the ingredients are there, i.e. huge emotional investment, radical disappointment, and few, if any, life/career alternatives."
And there are plenty of business-blog skeptics in the U.S., as well. Less than 6 percent of the Fortune 500 and 2 percent of the Forbes 200 Best Small Companies blogged in April and June 2006, respectively. Bottom line: Most companies aren't blogging because they're not convinced it works and they think that there are too many associated risks.
The following names were put on a "Watch List": Robert Scoble; Jeremy Pepper; Scott Baradell; David Parmet; Robert French; Tom Biro; Giovanni Rodriguez; Geoff Livingston; and Brian Oberkirch. (Note: Some top business blogging advocates have other alternatives. Shel Holtz could surely pick up some freelance work with Ragan Communications; Shel Israel could head communications for the National Women's Hirsute Association; and Rubel could always go part-time at Sharper Image and augment that by waiting tables at Outback.)
Weiss said, "By generating new information about risks from largely avoidable causes, the findings provide an impetus for preventing future loss of life among honorable men and women."
Weiss urged strongly that there be a concerted public health effort to "aggressively address those causes where intervention efforts and prevention strategies can be implemented to save lives."