Tom points to a Chronicle of Higher Education piece that recounts the work of a college hiring committee choosing a new professor. A number of the finalists had a blog. None of the blogging professors got the job not simply because of their online practice but it certainly didn’t help. The blogs were too political or too narrow or shed too much light. None of the candidates are named in the story, and here’s the even stranger part: even the author used a pseudonym. I like Stephen Downes’ reaction:
It’s ironic to see this author warning about your blog making you look like an idiot without any warning about doing the same in a column for the Chronicle. That is probably why the article is published under a pseudonym. The real miscreants are the editors of the Chronicle for publishing this drivel, a screed based neither in an understanding of blogging nor in sound advice for applicants and potential employers. Yes, let’s keep our lives secret befor we take a new position; that will make it much more certain the job will be a good fit. Rubbish.
Then Tim Stahmer points to David Weinberger, who takes himself to task for totally misreading the intent of a conservative broadcaster’s words, blogging about his anger and retracting it 15 minutes later when he realized his mistake. Problem is, 15 seconds is sometimes more than enough time for blog posts to live in infamy in someones RSS feed or due to a chance visit.
I’ve said before that I purposely stay away from topics here that might be read controversially, with rare exception. I don’t do policy, I don’t do personal life, or when I do, I think and write very carefully. I have other spaces that I publish in when the headlines of the day drive me into spasms, and those places are anonymous. I’m still not quite sure what that says, ultimately, about me as a blogger. Smart? Disingenuous? Timid? Responsible?