A student? A pre-tenure educator? Don’t blog.

No, this isn’t my position, obviously (since you are reading my blog), but I have had some good discussions over the last year about this topic. Does blogging do more harm than good if you are a student or a pre-tenure educator? Many say “yes!” with stories and examples to support it.

The other day I listed some of the pros and cons of blogging as a student (see “The pros of blogging as a student” and “The cons of blogging as a student”). Robert Holmstedt of the University of Toronto commented on my post about the “cons” and he said that these were some of the reasons, “…I ‘request’ that my graduate students not start blogging (or stop, if they have already begun).” We chatted about the topic via email, where he gave me an unnamed example of a case where a student’s doctoral program application process was derailed at a university because the student’s blog was brought to the attention of some faculty. Ever since this event he has advised his students to avoid blogging.

Holmstedt has written a blog post on the topic which includes a witty retelling of the aforementioned example in the form of a 19th century correspondence via hand-written letters: see “Blogging–should pre-tenure faculty and students do it? In my opinion, ‘no.'”

FWIW, I think this may be a hot topic at the 2013 AAR/SBL Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, this November. I know of two different sections that may be addressing this topic. Last November, during the Blogging and Online Publication section, this topic began to be discussed following Joel Watt’s presentation where he documented how blogging has helped him during his academic journey. I asked him if blogging could derail his efforts to be admitted into a doctoral program someday or receive employment later. There wasn’t enough time to delve too deeply into a discussion during the Q&A section, but I got the sense that the stage may have been set for next year. I think a healthy, heated debate over the role of blogging for students and pre-tenured educators is on the horizon.

What are your thoughts? Should a student or a pre-tenured educator avoid blogging? Can you provide an example of how blogging has been beneficial at this stage?