Revisiting academic blogging

It’s always interesting to hear what Eszter has to say about academics and blogging. She is right that the environment has changed and that more and more people know what blogs are and appreciate them (not everyone, though, but those are not academics, really).
She is also right that the term “blog” is not very useful – a blog is a piece of software: it is what you do with it that affects how you are perceived by peers, which in turn can affect your career trajectory. There are examples of people who lost prospects due to their blogging, but that was either because they were foolish (their loss) or the prospective employees were (the employees’ loss).
But there are also many counter-examples of people who got their jobs because of their blogging, or it was helpful. For instance, Deepak got a job with Amazon over twitter, I was a witness when Jason Calacanis hired a programmer via twitter, Anne-Marie, an undergrad, has been approached by potential graduate advisors due to her lovely blogging, and you know I got my job in the comments thread of a post on my blog.
Anyway, it is an interesting post and comment thread to read.

2 responses to “Revisiting academic blogging

  1. Well the job process started on Twitter. In the end still had to go through the interview process.
    However, I can quite safely say that when it comes to careers and other opportunities, the blog has been a huge net plus. Of course, I am not in academia, where things might be different, but probably less than most might think.

  2. In my view, one of the biggest promises of academic blogging is that it could increase the general public’s involvement into the scientific discourse. Yet unfortauntely, my feeling is that, within the academic community, blogging is still seen as potentially career-damaging.
    I recall reading an article in The Chronicle a few weeks ago that detailed how five applications for a faculty position who had seemed great on paper were kicked out of the recruiting process after their blogs were deemed too “personal”. I couldn’t find the article just now (maybe it wasn’t published in The Chronicle after all), but here’s a quote from another one (back from 2006) which essentially says the same thing:
    “Blogs and prestigious university appointments do not mix terribly well. That is because top departments are profoundly risk-averse when it comes to senior hires. In some ways, that caution is sensible – hiring a senior professor is the equivalent of signing a baseball player to a lifetime contract without any ability to release or trade him. In such a situation, even small doubts about an individual become magnified.”