Thursday, November 16
Is it just me, or are more and more of our colleagues turning to blogs?

In recent weeks there is increasing blog-buzz around my department. I don't know where it came from, but I am scared to death of being found out.

I ask myself if I post risky things here, or if I would be fine with my name being tied to my musings. Maybe it's time to read the archives...

...and to begin using more caution when deciding what to post, and where to post it.

Is anyone else feeling the pressure?


Anonymous said...

I've been reading/observing this blog for some time now and I've been coming back to it because a) I find it enjoyable; b) as a graduate student myself I find this environment comforting and familiar.
So forgive me if I'm crossing some line now but it seems to me that the worry that your secret identities might be revealed is preventing the blog from developing in its full potential. (This is a recurrent worry is it not?)

Perhaps I should put this in the form of a `paradox': Assume: purpose of anonymous blogging is freedom of expression. But if one were to express oneself freely then one's identity would be revealed. Therefore, one must not express oneself freely when blogging.

I am trying to say that you have a dilemma---either keep the content of posts generic enough to be un--traceable; or say what you want to say (within reasonable limits of course) and risk, erm, `exposure'.

So perhaps you could ask yourselves:
How realistic is it to expect that what you say here could be traced back to your person?
If what you say does get traced back what would the consequences be?
Is the combination of (risk of exposure) plus (undesirable consequences) significant enough to warrant caution in what gets said?
If so, what would this mean for the blog? Is it worthwhile to have it, will its purpose have to be re--evaluated, etc?

I guess because I may come off as pedantic I could give you a secret to redeem myself (for what it's worth). I have a recurrent fear that my colleagues think I'm a bimbo. One of my fears is that one day `they' will realise that I'm not supposed to be here (or they have realised already but haven't been able to get rid of me yet).

fraud, in denim said...

I'm glad that you're enjoying yourself here, anonymous. You know, your free to join at any time, just email Clear or Plaid. Your "bimbo" fear is much like where my name originates from.

I don't think that any of us says enough here that we could be tracked down by a reader with a keen eye coupled with a worthy search engine. I am more afraid that someone will stumble on the blog and read my words, or experiences and "know" that it's me. I talk a lot in my not-secret life and I write much like I talk and I just don't want anyone to catch on. Maybe I'm just being paranoid.

I do stop myself from posting funny stories here, for fear that I'll be discovered because I'll tell them to someone else. I wish I didn't have to do that.

Salmon Ella said...

I feel it. I've already been recognized, so it's quite possible! And I'm pretty sure that if my advisor were to stumble across this site, he'd know who I was. Heck, maybe he already has...

Clear said...

I wouldn't worry about it too much. I think there is an interesting social networks effect where several members of a department might be intrigued all at once by blogs--say, for instance, if a particular post gets e-mailed around--and maybe even a new person or two will start a blog, but trends toward dissipation can lead all that to be over fairly quickly.

Plaid said...

I was one of the people inviting folks on here and even I am clueless for the most part when it comes to various identities. So I highly doubt that random people stumbling on this blog will know much.

But I understand. I get paranoid, too. Of course, freedom to comment here may be related to how free (or not) you are to discuss relevant (to this blog) issues with people in your environment. If you're not - which may make you the most needy of such an outlet - then you shouldn't be too concerned that things you mention here will resonate too much with those around you, no?

strawberries said...

i'm scared too, of being found out.

and yes, that probably *is* preventing the blog from its true potential. the question is, what do we do about it?

Dr. Delaney Kirk said...

None of my colleagues have a blog and think I am strange to spend time writing on one. I wonder if blogwriting is more common among some academic areas (I'm in a Business College). Any thoughts on that?

Navy Blue Blob said...

Dr. Kirk, yes, I think there are definitely some fields that have yielded more blogs than others. I don't know how it looks from field-to-field, but my impression is that there are a ton of law prof blogs. You are commenting about a b-school blog. I wonder if professional schools see more of a link/relevance.

It would be interesting to know what fields are represented here on a.secret, but it's unlikely people will post that given the already high levels of paranoia about being found out.

Ms.PhD said...

This discussion interests me since I too have censored myself from sharing certain stories on my blog, like fraud in denim.

In my real life I pretend like I don't have a blog and only rarely read them.

From reading the last few posts on here I have been thinking though, along the lines of what someone else asked about whether some academics blog more than others. I am wondering if academia is really worse than industry, and that's why everyone has so much to complain about, or if it's just a cultural difference that we feel we might be able to get away with blogging, while in industry your ass would be toast if anyone found out you were blogging at all? Is it partly because we have more flexibility (own our own laptops, don't have every website we visit logged by the Company)?

Or is industry really that much better? All the negativity is making me wonder if, like a few people have advised me on my blog, I wouldn't be happier jumping off the equivalent of the academic Titanic before it sinks.