Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What to do?

Two unusually personal posts tonight -- but it's been on my mind what will become of this blog for a while, and it was crystallized when I just left a rather odd and hopefully funny comment on James Barbour's blog about how embarrassing it feels to comment on a stranger's blog. The academic job market starts soon, and conventional wisdom is that when you go on the market, everything comes down: blog, facebook page, etc. etc. (Come to think of it, I may still be on friendster for all I know.) It's just a matter of controlling what job committees look at, and since candidates have so little control in the process, it seems like a good idea. Considering that things like where you went to college -- a decision made at the age of 17 -- factor into the hire, the last thing you want is some friend's drunken post on your Wall to reach their eyes. (By the way, this is as good a time as any to say that I appreciate all posted comments, drunken or not, and all the comments that you shy friends email me.)

However, this blog is reasonably benign, and it's not linked off anything professional, like my listings on department webpages, etc. I can't think how job committees would stumble across it. I do get random hits and even comments, but the odds of them being from a professor on a search committee are astronomically low.

But what's going to happen less than a year from now when, job market willing, I turn from hapless grad student to outwardly dignified and inwardly overworked (junior) professor? Michael Berube, bless his overtalented heart, set an example of academic blogging, but from the lofty heights of crossover fame. He also put sick amounts of time into it and has said that blogging is a kind of public service from academics, not something that should be included professionally. Still, if I were to keep this blog as un-anonymous as it is now, or even link it to myself professionally, I don't think I'd feel free to just spill out on whatever I'm reading, seeing, or listening to.

And I'd have to worry more about grammar.


1 comment:

jodi said...

In retrospect, I definitely should not have had my more personal blog up during the job search, although, again, low readership, I don't know how findable it was. Nor should I have blogged in any form about the job search, even though a lot of

As you may have noticed, I'm in the process of retiring my other (the non-"funny Wisconsin blog") for the junior prof reason-- no time, much less willingness to reveal things. I think, however, that my blog tended towards introspection and yours more towards cultural critique. Would you really mind if your students or peers knew what you thought of "A Tale of Two Cities"? You would probably have that conversation over coffee, etc., anyway. I thought about this yesterday when a student wanted to friend me on facebook-- I looked over my page, and it's not like it will be news to my students that I love the Boston Red Sox, nor do I care if they know what music I like (I'm prone to chatter about this kind of thing as class gets going anyway).

On the market, I guess, one errs on the side of caution. You could also "close" things up (I don't know the level of security on your fb page) so that only friends can see them-- not perfect, but a compromise).