A while ago I mentioned that at this year’s AAR/SBL Annual Meeting I will be presenting on “The Dangers of Blogging as a Student”. While this is not a subject that is difficult to research—since I am sure most people could create a long list of potential risks for student bloggers if they gave themselves fifteen minutes with a pad of paper and a pen—it is one that is very difficult to connect to real stories. For example, another presenter during the same session is Joshua L. Mann who has been posting interviews on his blog with scholars discussing why they blog and whether others should blog (e.g., recent interview with Peter Enns). While it is possible that some people decline his offer for an interview it is my presumption that it is far easier to get people to talk about their successes than their failures.
My paper lacks one important element with a few months left before the conference: real life examples. People don’t want to talk about how blogging led to their expulsion, or their rejection from their choice graduate school, or even the tense relationship it may have caused with a professor though no obvious penalties could be assessed. I’m looking for someone to tell me their stories, even if your field isn’t biblical studies. Obviously, it would be easier to present a paper where I could name people with their permission, but if you were willing to go “off the record” I’d accept that as well. You can email me at email@example.com if you prefer to keep things private.
There is one more problem: many people may not know that their blogging had anything to do with being rejected by this or that school, or (after graduation) not being hired for this or that job, because college admissions committees and hiring committees are not likely to say, “You sound like a jerk on your blog.” This means there are many examples of why blogging can be dangerous for students that are buried forever.