Could blogging damage your career?

by Chris Bertram on January 12, 2004

Brian “writes below”: :

bq. it will be a long time before I start listing any especially good blogposts on my CV.

But the latest “thread from Invisible Adjunct”: suggests that he won’t have to, and that the good ones (and the bad ones) will be taken down in evidence ….

IA cites a member of a job search committee:

bq. I’ll be interviewing people at MLA, and, trust me, we’ve ‘Googled’ every job candidate to establish whether they are a good ‘fit’ for our institution. Watch what you say.

Oh dear.



Factory 01.12.04 at 8:29 am

Or use an pseudonym, which avoids this issue entirely. (and ‘normal’ names are a bit boring, IHMO)


Dedman 01.12.04 at 11:15 am

Well, that’s less of a worry than blog entries haunting the blogger in court. But didn’t everyone already suspect that employers, friends, acquaintances, et cetera, Googled everyone anyone?


Rv. Agnos 01.12.04 at 1:58 pm

I don’t see why this is necessarily a bad thing. If it were easily googlable that a candidate runs and make daily contributions to the “Fred Phelps is a Moderate” website, it would practically be reckless not to search and check that out.


Brian Weatherson 01.12.04 at 3:21 pm

If you’re worried about a quick Google search, just the simple expedient of having posts signed by first name only (as on CT) removes a lot of the connection. If you Google for Chris Bertram the initial link is to Junius (where the posts were all signed ‘Chris Bertram’) and there are very few links to CT. This is despite the fact that CT is more frequently updated and more widely linked. So you needn’t stay completely anonymous to fend off the casual Google-browser, just don’t obsessively put your full name on every post. This won’t help against the more dedicated searcher of course.

My impression is that at this stage I’m getting job offers because of the blog rather than despite it, but maybe that will change if I drop the superficial politeness.


Carlos 01.12.04 at 3:26 pm

Soon enough, the absence of a Google record will look suspicious in itself:

“So, M. Applicant. You mean to say you have *never* participated in an online discussion about your field of interest?”

And also:

“Oh, you posted under an *alias*. Courage of your convictions, eh? Is it a verifiable one, M. Factory? No, of course not.”

Happy goldfish bowl.



Rv. Agnos 01.12.04 at 3:26 pm

Another option would be to change your name to “Michael Jackson” or “Paris Hilton”. You’d be the needle in the haystack.


Matt Weiner 01.12.04 at 3:43 pm

The needle in the haystack thing is easier to pull off than you might think. I dearly hope that any search committee that googles me will realize that “Remembering Matt Weiner ’02” is a false positive….


jason 01.12.04 at 4:16 pm

free speech? what happened to it? and yet abercrombie gets heat for it’s hiring practices. fiasco.


Rv. Agnos 01.12.04 at 4:46 pm

It is certainly not a violation of free speech to require people to take responsibility for their statements.


Brian Weatherson 01.12.04 at 4:50 pm

Yeah, I think it’s completely obvious that not hiring someone because they couldn’t carry an argument in a bucket is way more offensive than not hiring someone because of their skin colour.


PZ Myers 01.12.04 at 7:15 pm

Or just be given a common name at birth. I can tell you that there are an awful lot of “Paul Myers” out there.

I think what will eventually make this a non-problem, though, is simply the near-universality of the web record. Our little brain farts will get swamped out in the vast and ever-growing miasma of the net.


Sebastian Holsclaw 01.12.04 at 7:34 pm

I’m doomed. The MLA will never hire me! :)


ahem 01.13.04 at 5:24 am

The MLA will never hire me! :)

Just for the record, Sebastian: ‘the MLA’ is the location for the interviews (the annual Convention of the Modern Language Association), not the prospective employer. The EngLit section of the academy congregates en masse for the MLA each December, and this has meant that the ostensible purpose of giving papers and making contacts (of all kinds) is now considered secondary to its hosting of hundreds of interviews for posts beginning the following Fall. (A long process, but an efficient one. At least it prevents a logistical nightmare for candidates and interviewers alike.)

The MLA is rather like an academic cattle market. Read David Lodge’s Small World for a sense of it. Though that pre-dates the era of google-stalking.


Dave F 01.14.04 at 11:45 am purports to provide a shield against intrusion while allowing the user to google. The site concerned is dedicated to warning that G is watching you in ways you wot not of.


Brooke Burke nude 01.27.04 at 5:39 am

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A Halifax Mooseheads Hockey Fan

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