Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Got blog? No job!

Apparently I haven't a hope in hell of a career in academia if guys like this are the ones hiring.

Matt Kirschenbaum wonders about the Chronicle of Higher Education's motivations in publishing such a piece, and responds to the pseudonymous author's question of why an academic would keep a weblog at all with this simple, but satisfying, anecdote: "The science fiction writer Harlen Ellison once described a stunt in which he sat in the window of a bookshop all day writing a story. He was curious about what would happen if writing became a public spectacle rather than the mysterious, solitary endeavor it usually is."

But if that doesn't do it for you, Matt cites the more tangible benefits of networking and makes this request: "Would all academic bloggers reading this consider posting a comment or a trackback entry about some specific professional dividend that their online presence in the blogosphere has garnered for them?"

I began writing here to keep track of my research and to present some kind of public but personal "field notes" - and it's been an experiment that has paid off in ways I never imagined. If what people have said to me is true, then my weblog has been directly responsible for invitations to present one conference keynote address, moderate and participate in at least half-a-dozen conference panels and workshops, and submit three articles for publication in academic journals and books. It has provided the foundation for a variety of academic discussions and collaborations, and has been instrumental in getting feedback on my doctoral research. I've even seen my blog posts cited in academic publications and as assigned reading for university courses! And if all that isn't enough, my weblog has also provided for an immensely satisfying on and offline engagement with non-academics, interviews for news articles in Wired and The Guardian, and invitations to write for non-academic publications.

But all of this feels like bragging, and that's not me. In fact, I think that few of these benefits would have come my way if I didn't reveal some of my non-academic interests and experiences here. After all, I'm a person, not a CV. For now I think I'll keep up the blog and be grateful I'll never end up in a department where people like that are in charge.

(Thanks Chuck!)


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