Tuesday, November 22, 2005

blogs and academics

I was directed to this slate article by blogora.

The article talks about how young professors who blog might be hurt inn their tenure hopes because the academic establishment looks down on blogging as an activity for faculty.  This makes me a little distressed about my own future as a grad student and faculty member.  However, I am fully aware that my blog is subject to google searches of my name and invite that audience, at least for now.  Perhaps when I’m on the job market I will find it wise to post a little less frequently and not be very subversive.

For now, though, I see blogging as a responsibility for my academic life, rather than a detractor from it.  First, I’m interested in studying the ways communication changes because of technology and I think participant observation is a good way to find out things.  Second, I think academics spend way too much time talking amongst themselves and the important ideas and discussions never get to real people or practitioners of the very things they are studying, and I think that’s a shame.  Blogging is one way of giving the benefits of one’s education to a more general audience.  And the discussion sometimes directly benefits my work.  Some of the conversation in the previous post about Derrida and the Bible is going to help me in my paper project about Derrida and Christianity.  And it got me really excited to learn more so I can post again and contribute more.

Also, I imagine the terrain on this issue will shift a fair amount in the next 5 years, as technology changes the way we deal with technology and the way we use it.  It will be interesting to see long-term the way technology impacts academia (as well as everything else).


Simon said...

I agree that in the next five years, online persona and blogging will be more commonly accepted, because technology will continue to grow as commonplace within society. By then the aged academic establishments will hopefully see blogging without suspicion, but as a positive thing.

That is, until Peak Oil (http://www.peakoil.org/), when all cheap mass transport becomes impossible and everybody reverts back to the farming communities from which we came, and Nevada and Arizona become obselete. :)

drjones said...

Hi Bethany! I found your blog through the church website jon set up. I think you are right that blogging is frowned upon. There have been a few times where I have thought that I should not pist my website on my resume for fear that the employers might read my blog...I think the best way to do it is simply have an anonymous blog.

bethany said...

Mark, I understand your reasons for anonymity, but that doesn't really solve the problem for me - I want my friends to be able to find me, I want my ideas and my writing out there and connected with my name and my identity. I guess I'm putting a lot of eggs in the blogging basket, but I think it could be a positive thing in the end.

Bob K said...

Any new communication technology is suspect at first. (Is that true? I wish I knew some people who studied communications so I could ask them.) I think blogging is going to become more accepted as people learn how to use it better - just as cell phones are now more common and more accepted. That doesn't mean that there still are not people who, for example ACCEPT CELL PHONE CALLS IN THE MIDDLE OF PARENT TEACHER CONFERENCES AT SCHOOL. (The parent in front of me this week took a call - I was stunned.) But society, in general, is learning how to adapt to the technology. I think blogging will be similar.

Joyce said...

I think it wise to thoughtfully and carefully blog as faculty. Don't we want our faculty to think out what they have to say and say it such a way that it is concise and presentable to all involved? The web can be both a forum and training ground for that. Of course, I'm just a student: what do I know?