Should graduate students blog?

13 July 2005

There is an interesting article on ArsTechnica this week by Hannibal entitled Blogging and job prospects: from the academy to the SCOTUS. The basic premise is that one’s soul is usually bared in a blog, and topics are often discussed that would never be addressed in a job interview. He quotes from an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education about a Professor who ran a personal blog and elaborated on topics such as ‘certain people’s choice of fashion or body adornment, which countries we should invade, what should be done to drivers who refuse to get out of the passing lane, what constitutes a real man, or how the recovery process from one’s childhood traumas is going’. When considered for a position, these statements were taken into account, even though they would never have been touched upon in a job interview.

Hannibal’s conclusion on the blog issue is perfect, so I reproduce it here for graduate students (not only mine, but all the others spending time on blogs or websites):

“Ultimately, I think the answer to this dilemma is pretty clear: graduate students simply should not blog, and if they do blog they should never do so under their real names. As a grad student, your writing time is much better spent producing papers that will get you feedback from the folks who you’re paying to study under (emphasis mine). Furthermore, anything that you have to say that’s even remotely interesting to anyone other than your parents and your best friend from childhood is not worth publishing online when it could easily come back to haunt you years later. And the more interesting and relevant your comments on the pressing issues of the day, the more you should keep them strictly confined to the kinds of everyday offline intellectual conversations that make academic life so rewarding.”

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