Vast Active Library and Information Science blog. From a recent library science graduate in Wellington, New Zealand. A focus on reference and current awareness tools and issues, especially free, web-based resources.

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Saturday, November 26, 2005
Attack of the Career-Killing Blogs - When academics post online, do they risk their jobs? By Robert S. Boynton  
Slate reports on problems for academic bloggers; the article links to an old Chronicle of Higher Education article, whose author, an employer at a small US university, is unhappy with job applicants who are also bloggers:

The pertinent question for bloggers is simply, Why? What is the purpose of broadcasting one's unfiltered thoughts to the whole wired world? It's not hard to imagine legitimate, constructive applications for such a forum....Worst of all, for professional academics, it's a publishing medium with no vetting process, no review board, and no editor.....

But the site quickly revealed that the true passion of said blogger's life was not academe at all, but the minutiae of software systems, server hardware, and other tech exotica. It's one thing to be proficient in Microsoft Office applications or HTML, but we can't afford to have our new hire ditching us to hang out in computer science after a few weeks on the job...

Professor Shrill ran a strictly personal blog, which, to the author's credit, scrupulously avoided comment about the writer's current job, coworkers, or place of employment. But it's best for job seekers to leave their personal lives mostly out of the interview process....we agreed a little therapy (of the offline variety) might be in order....

The content of the blog may be less worrisome than the fact of the blog itself. Several committee members expressed concern that a blogger who joined our staff might air departmental dirty laundry (real or imagined) on the cyber clothesline for the world to see. Past good behavior is no guarantee against future lapses of professional decorum.
Depressing stuff, and a sobering reminder that some people still have strong anti-blog feelings.

On a similar theme, Forbes published a virulantly anti-blogger article, Kurt Opsahl posted a hilarious reply on EFF (via Boing Boing).

Wellington blogger Che Tibby has an account of how he negotiated with his public sector employer about what would be acceptable and unacceptable in terms of his blogging. This seems like a sensible approach. Says Che:

Pretty much the first thing I did when I got the full-time job was to make an appointment with my manager and let him know exactly what it was I had been writing. As it was I had it confirmed that I had been turned down for one job specifically because of Club Politique, so I wasn't prepared to have it become an issue at my new place of work.

Also, if you have a blog of any profile at all, make sure you put a big mention of it in your CV if you intend to continue writing to it. It would be a foolish workplace indeed that tried to reprimand you retrospectively for something they must surely have taken into consideration when hiring you.


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