Monday, July 25, 2005

I've been a little quiet lately because I've been spending spare moments cleaning up the links in the sidebar, rather than posting about print reference materials. I'm getting more interested in finding examples of good online instruction, and in using this blog as a personal website, with links to the tools I use most (so I don't forget where they are, which I sometimes do.)

But I noticed this article about blogging in a recent Chronicle of Higher Education, and I have to say, I found it disturbing. I'm not sure what to make of a faculty hiring committee that appears to be making hiring decisions based on candidates' personal blogs. I understand the distinction between a personal blog and a professional one, and I wouldn't give a prospective employer the URL of a personal blog, but in some cases it seems as though this hiring committee went out and Googled candidates in order to find their personal blogs. They then read them, judged them, and factored that information into their hiring decisions.

I'm disturbed, for one thing, to find this kind of behavior in academe. It seems drastically at odds with the value we place on freedom of thought, expression and association. To cull a candidate because, for instance, he has a blog showing his interest in technology seems radically out of step with culture of the academy. And some of the logic in this rationale--"past good behavior is no guarantee of future good behavior," for instance--seems just plain crazy. On that basis, how could you ever hire anyone? After all, just because someone has been a terrific, energetic teacher and a leading researcher in the field for the last ten years doesn't mean they won't turn into deadwood if you give them your post. Needless to say, I find this a depressing way of looking at the world.

Overall, it seems to me as though this article may be driven by technophobia more than anything else, and that's just a drag. This kind of generalizing pessimism rears its head from time to time, and it never fails to make the pessimist look bad. There's just no dignified way to say that you think that everyone who writes a blog is a self-involved sub-literate. There are too many blogs that prove you wrong.


Blogger Loren said...

I wasn't going to comment here, but I read Gorman's essay and he sounds as loud and ignorant as those who argue that the internet is going to take the place of newspaper, magazines, and television shows.

Truthfully, my web site has a better representation of "modern poetry" than the local branch of my Tacoma library.

The internet certainly lacks depth in many areas, but as a tool for understanding obscure allusions in poems, it is unbeatable.

2:38 PM  
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