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Paranoia and the public blog

The Chronicle forums have a somewhat popular thread in the job hunt category in which someone asked whether search committee members read candidate’s blogs or check their records on RateMyProfessor. I’m not generally paranoid about my online persona – as evidenced by the “me on x” links in the navigation – but I sense a higher level of paranoia among academic job seekers.

When I think about what about my blog sends the wrong or an undesirable message, I tend to focus on how the Kiwi WordPress theme I use doesn’t actually work. I’ve made some adjustments to the theme, but I haven’t spent hours making sure the “Recent posts” section on a blog entry page is providing some useful set of links. Yes, I have the technical skills to fix that. No, I don’t think doing so is worth my time. A mistaken calculation? Time will tell. Maybe when I’m more explicitly on the job market making my blog work perfectly will be a higher priority for me. I hope that the rest of my blog demonstrates that I care about things such as civil rights, gadgets, collaboration, sustainability, and travel (not necessarily in that order). I do care about those things, and I write about them occasionally.

I expect to see an increase in the pace at which I blog, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I start to blog more about my dissertation than I have to this point. It’s tough to decide how much of the proverbial sausage-making to describe here. I don’t want my blog to dangerously oversimplify the process of dissertation topic-selecting and eventual research, but I’m also pretty sure search committees don’t need to know every time I doubt myself or my research. I’m human, and that much is clear from my work – whether on my blog, in the classroom, or in peer-reviewed publications and conferences.

Happy Halloween!

Update: I removed the “Other Recent Posts” part from the single post view. Apparently blogging about my irritations with the Kiwi theme gets me to edit it.


  • Rick |

    Think about this from the perspective of what you know about cognitive biases: People latch on to the really bad examples, but never mention when things go well. We hear plenty about people who didn’t get a job because of drunken pictures on myspace. But how many people’s job chances were not affected by their many blog posts. And how many employers read a blog they liked and it made them want to hire the person more? There is a strong negative bias in the media at work. I’d love to see a real study that controls for that bias, but i haven’t yet.

  • libbyh |

    Rick, were you around when Cliff was moaning about how his students want to study online identity? He almost scared me off, but I agree with you that a study is in order.

So, what do you think ?

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