[Computational Complexity] Blogging and Academics
The University of Chicago denying tenure to an assistant professor is rarely a breaking news story. Yet political scientist Daniel Drezner's case received considerable press including a Chicago Tribune story. Why? Because he had a popular blog.
I doubt the content of the weblog or its existence or popularity played negatively towards his tenure case. Perhaps some feel his time would have been better spent on "real academics" but most likely they considered his more traditional academic writings and, frankly, it's very difficult to get tenure at the U of C, particularly in the social sciences.
Will Drezner's weblog help him in his future job hunt? Ivan Tribble argued that weblogs can hurt a candidate for an academic position.
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.I disagree with Tribble. Most non-anonymous academic webloggers know better than to discuss departmental politics in their blogs and departmental hiring committees should or will realize they have nothing to fear. A popular weblog raises one visibility in and out of their field—far more people read this weblog then download my research papers, for example. A weblog like Daniel Drezner's (much more read than this one) gives him an edge over his peers, a popularity that will open some doors that others will have to fight harder for.
Posted by Lance to Computational Complexity at 10/16/2005 07:11:00 AM