Thursday, March 02, 2006

Jo(e)'s meme

I can't seem to get the button-click features, like linking and fonts. Since I don't know the html codes, this will be a very boring, and very un-referenced, entry. I will make clear which parts are not mine, but you'll have to go find the sources on your own.

"Writing as Jo(e)" wrote a meme about pseudonymous academic bloggers, the answers to which I've found thought-provoking. (Many are collected at "a k8, a cat, a mission.") So I'm using it as my second introduction.

Is your blogging persona more serious than your real life persona?
Well, we'll see. I'm trying to make it more dedicated, but I'm not sure that either persona is particularly playful or funny.

Do you think the only safe way an academic can write publicly is to write anonymously?
No. I think there are many areas in which it is safer for the academic's job, but I don't think this is isolated to academia. The world is very image-oriented, and the teachers (professors, adjucts, grad students, researchers etc.) of a university are what it considers to be its public face. The university -- as any large organization -- has a vested interest in presenting its best face to the public. I think it's just as... awkward? dangerous? for a VP of Chase to write a blog in which she acknowledges her failings, her political leanings, her personal life, her spats with collegues and with people up and down the ladder.... -- that is, all that pseudonymous academics blog about. It's just a VP of Chase is much less likely to have leanings towards expressing herself in words than an academic is, so the issue doesn't come up.
Additionally, I think the only reason people like PZ Myers (sp?) and M. Berube can blog under their own names is because of tenure; This job guarentee is unique. That is, many unions do their best guarentee jobs for their members despite poor behavior, however that is defined. However most to-be-unionized workers are at the bottom of the institutional structure; as I said above, academics are the public face of the institution, and this gives their comments the impression of more weight and power.

Do you think that your blog could ruin your career?
Well, I don't have a career yet. But, going back to that "best face forward" idea, I do think that a blog is a liability. One doesn't go into a job interview (as an academic or otherwise) and tell the interviewer one's worst points. Even when asked for them, one is supposed to put a positive spin on them: "Well, I think my worst fault is that I'm stubborn; once I start doing something, I can't stop until it's done, no matter what sorts of obstacles are in my way."

What would happen if an administrator at the university discovered your blog?
I don't think an administrator would care; I'm a student. However, I think my advisor would be... disappointed that I wasn't spending more time on research.

Do you use a pseudonym out of fear?
No, and yes. The no is that I use it out of caution: I am trying to preserve that "best face." The fear would be due to what I am trying to accomplish (see first post). The goals are something I don't have the courage to learn in real life.

What is the biggest drawback to writing pseydonymously?
Spelling the damn word. No, actually, it's that I'm not very good at remembering to use my not-name.

Has anyone stumbled on your blog?
Well, it's two days old, so I doubt it. I am hoping to keep it general enough so that it wouldn't be found by a google search, but we'll see how well that goes. I'm not very good at the deliberate omissions (see above).

Have you outed yourself to other bloggers?
Yes, by accident.

Has your blog allowed you to experiment with writing?
I hope it wil!

Why do you use a pseudonym?
The "best face" idea from above, to keep it from being googled, and to protect my family.

Productivity update: I didn't go right to work, but I did manage to get something done before the end of the day. However, something really wonderful happened last night. I have a recurring dream in which I'm driving and I can't stop the car in time; instead, I crash into other cars, veer into fields, overshoot the turn, etc. I know, feel out of control much? Last night, I had a driving dream again, and even though the road was icy (usually the weather is fine), I stopped the car in time. I'm very excited.


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