I’m still in “vacation mode” because the in-laws are here and my wife and I just returned from a getaway to Niagara Falls— oops! too much information for Ivan “the worst ‘not his real name’ name ever” Tribble, at least according to an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, “Bloggers Need Not Apply.”
- Tribble does have a point in that there are a lot of bloggers out there, academic and otherwise, who are not as aware of the potential downfalls of their vast and unintended audience as they perhaps ought to be. Lots of people have lost their jobs as a result of their blogs, and it is probably true that others have been passed over for jobs because of their blogging. Of course, most of the academic blogs I know of that share a bit too much– ah… problematic “personal” information– are anonymous anyway (and I’ve certainly complained about the problems I have with anonymous academic blogging in the past). So, assuming that the anonymous academic blogger applying for a job isn’t going to be promoting his or her anonymous blog in a cover letter or on a campus visit, Tribble et al could have easily hired the exact kind of blogger he and his colleagues were trying to avoid and not even know it.
- I don’t know what field Tribble is in (though I must say that he sure sounds like a pretty old-timey/traditional Literature– with a capital “L”– kind of guy to me), but in my field, I’m pretty sure that we’d look quite favorably on a candidate who kept a blog. Many of the folks I list as comp/rhet bloggers are doctoral students or newly minted Ph.Ds, and I’m betting that they’ll land decent jobs.
- Finally, Tribble reminds me of one final piece of unsolicited advice I’d like to offer in my role as The Happy Academic: while the academic job market is extremely tight, always remember that job candidates have to evaluate the people who are doing the hiring, too. Afterall, there is a decent enough chance that you will have to spend the rest of your working life with these people, so you had better have a sense of what they’re like. I have had MLA interviews with a variety of different schools where, about half-way through that half hour sitting in a hotel room someplace, I thought to myself “there is no way I would be willing to work with you people.” I freely admit that it’s perhaps a bit too easy for me to say this now that I’m happy and tenured, but I guess what I’m getting at is I’m pretty sure that Tribble and his colleagues at “a small liberal arts college in the Midwest” wouldn’t want to hire me, and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want to work with them.
Here’s a link to the newsgroup style discussion about all this on the Chronicle site. I stumbled across it while looking at Clancy’s site, though I don’t think I have the same sort of patience as Clancy does to actually read what people wrote there….