Blogging will affect your career…

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…so sayeth Bug Girl:

It isn’t hard to find examples where science bloggers that use their real names–and that have known employers–have had disgruntled readers contact their boss.  It isn’t hard to find examples where a decision has been made by the higher ups that silence is better than controversy, even if the information provided online is correct.

There is no way to blog–anonymously or not– and never have it affect your career.

This is true. Blogging will affect your career. Your online tracks will be found by employers, present and future, and the more important the position, the harder you’ll be googled.

But- and here is where I think I differ from Bug Girl- a blog is just as likely to affect your prospects positively as it is negatively. Sure, for any given blogging style there are employers who won’t want you. Add that to a long list of other foibles that will disqualify you from various realms of employment.

Let’s not be so down, though. There will also be a subset of employers who view a strong online presence as a positive. A blog highlights your intelligence, your passion for the topic, your varied talents, your writing skills, and your willingness to take risks. Some jobs- especially outreach, writing, and marketing jobs- won’t consider you unless you have a blog.

You may, by blogging, disqualify yourself from 10% of your potential career options. But unless your online presence is a burning wreck of spittle-flecked unprofessionalism, blogging can open up another 10% of career options that wouldn’t previously have been available. I’m making these numbers up, but you get the point. I know tenured PI’s who view blogs as a ready measure of a candidate’s enthusiasm, a quality that can be difficult to gauge from a CV. If you are strongly inclined to blogging, perhaps it is worth writing off careers that won’t tolerate your online activities. You’ll be happier, anyway, at the more forward-looking organizations that want your online talents.

*update*- case in point

*update 2* – if you do bug blog, take Bug Girl’s Survey!

12 thoughts on “Blogging will affect your career…”

  1. In order of time, blogging has ruined my PhD, helped my visibility the next job, got my countless freelance opportunities, helped my visibility for a second try at PhD, helped support me while I quit the second PhD to go full time as a freelance writer which is where I’m at now. So, blogging helped me realize how I don’t fit in the academic system but opened up countless doors along the way and helped me to see a wide variety of careers that were previously inaccessible or unknown to me. I feel much more comfortable with my career prospects now than I ever did as a a graduate student. Many of my academic colleagues have reaped major bonus points at funding agencies as people dedicated to outreach.

  2. As a newspaper editor, I’ve had my blogging affect me negatively on one occasion on a job interview, become a way to develop anonymous sources and other things. That said, I think Bug Girl has some valid points; the ways in which blogging has helped me positively have not been about me as a specific person; the negative on a job interview was.

  3. Hmmm….I actually think blogging is a GOOD thing. Just that you can’t attack people willy nilly and expect that karma to not come back on you somehow.

    I have so many wonderful friends because of my blog. I regret nothing!

    (although I may want to re-think that post, if it sounds negative!)

    1. Yeah. I found myself nodding my head to your whole post, agreeing with pretty much everything. There are negatives to blogging, especially opinion blogging, and people should be aware of it.

      But, I also didn’t think we should discourage future online writers by not mentioning positive career outcomes.

  4. I’ve actually started including my blog URL on my resume – I did when I applied to the graduate fellowship program I’m in now, and the people I work for seem to see it as a strength rather than a weakness, to the point where I’m now doing my master’s degree project on the use of social media in environmental education.

  5. It probably would… if the articles conflict with the interests of the company. My blog has nothing to do with my present career… so I think I’m okay as long as I’m not doing it during office hours.

  6. I suppose, as usual, I’m missing something here, but I don’t think it is blogging per se that is likely to have an adverse effect on one’s career: it is how you blog that will determine how others respond to you. As Alex notes, being “a burning wreck of spittle-flecked unprofessionalism” isn’t a good idea, but poor writing, indifference to spell-checking, glaring errors (especially if not corrected), spouting off with half-baked political opinions, bigotry, group think, tunnel vision, rudeness, narcissism, whinging, and other clues to the limits to your abilities can be revealed by blogging.

    Overall, I bet blogging has a more positive effect on peoples’ careers, than the more social, shoot-from-the-hip chatter media like Facebook, Twitter, etc.

    1. I think you are spot-on, Dave. Blogging is just a medium, like any other. If you use it to demonstrate your strengths you’ll be fine.

      Although tempted, for example, I never post my videos of kitten-stomping.

  7. It probably would… if the articles conflict with the interests of the company. My blog has nothing to do with my present career… so I think I’m okay as long as I’m not doing it during office hours.

  8. It probably would… if the articles conflict with the interests of the company. My blog has nothing to do with my present career… so I think I’m okay as long as I’m not doing it during office hours.

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