…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!