Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Is this blog a career limiting move?

A few days ago I read this timely post on the Political Animal blog advising that new bloggers (me?) should post anonymously to be safe. Then suddenly I'm reading about blogging risks all over the place.

Ars Technica published a response to the Chron article: Blogging and job prospects: from the academy to the SCOTUS that offer this conservative advice

Ultimately, I think the answer to this dilemma is pretty clear: graduate students simply should not blog, and if they do blog they should never do so under their real names. As a grad student, your writing time is much better spent producing papers that will get you feedback from the folks who you're paying to study under.

Soon after, I'm reading an update on Political Animal ANONYMOUS BLOGGING....
Yesterday I wrote a post about the potential risks of blogging under your real name. Tom Spencer responds today with a personal story about how his blog very definitely affected his job and, possibly, his ability to get a new one.

I'm not trying to scare anyone away from blogging under their own name. But being a little bit paranoid isn't always a bad thing.

I'm still not buying it.

Then, while reading a Boing Boing post about a rave, I stumble onto this writer discounting the employment risk, and conversely questioning applicants that don't have an on-line presence, and concluding with this beautifully sane outlook apophenia: bloggers need not apply: maintaining status quo in academia
I do wonder how my blog will be received when i apply for faculty positions. Or how my tendency to dress up in bright colors, dread my hair and talk with my hands will be seen. But seriously, if i start wearing suits, remove all piercings and pretend not to know what Burning Man is, i might make it past a faculty hire, but would i ever make it past tenure? Of course a 'fuck you, like me for who i am attitude' is not necessarily the most attractive thing either. And besides, i'm definitely past my most rebellious anti-establishment days. What it comes down to is that i have to believe that some of the meritocracy of academia is partially there, even if not entirely. I have to believe that if i do good work, my eccentricities will be less problematic, just as the stupid things that i said on Usenet in the early 90s are less visible in my digital performance thanks to my verbose tendencies.

I agree with apophenia. What I say anywhere may come back to haunt me. The only defense is to live fully in the present and leave any embarrassing mistakes to fade into the past. And if some rabid wingnut happens to come along and make trouble, I just hope I have friends where I need them.

Its just not like me to hide in anonymity.

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