Blogging vs. Being Hired

Via PJ and many others, “Bloggers Need Not Apply,” an article about how an academic hiring team kept finding reasons on candidates’ blogs not to hire them.

This has caused a lot of appalled reaction among bloggers, who seem to ignore a couple of points in it —

Don’t get me wrong: Our initial thoughts about blogs were, if anything, positive. It was easy to imagine creative academics carrying their scholarly activity outside the classroom and the narrow audience of print publications into a new venue, one more widely available to the public and a tech-savvy student audience.


…And in truth, we did not disqualify any applicants based purely on their blogs. If the blog was a negative factor, it was one of many that killed a candidate’s chances. More often that not, however, the blog was a negative, and job seekers need to eliminate as many negatives as possible.

So they didn’t consider blogging inherently problematic, it’s just that every time they looked at somebody’s blog there was something that made them want to hire them less. But of course it’s still rather chilling to suggest that bloggers shouldn’t try to get academic jobs, and academic hopefuls shouldn’t have blogs.

I read this and I can’t help thinking of this insightful blog entry — about the difference between “public,” “private,” and “secret,” and about how on the Web there is no “private,” only “public” and “secret.” Go read it now. Really. It’s a must read.

That is the central problem, I think. The elimination of the private register, and the shunting of private conversation into the public sphere.

This “blogging being poisonous to hiring” thing is just a symptom of the problem.

UPDATE: Dan Gillmor’s remarks on this are pretty on target.