I've been "bad" about blogging, lately, but it's actually a conscious thing. When I began blogging, I didn't give much thought to maintaining anonymity; I've long tried to live my life as an open book, and blogging seemed like a good way to capture that spirit. Why try to be anonymous? I've never been too worried about stalkers, and really, who would care, if they didn't know I was me?
I started worrying, a little, about my lack of anonymity, when I published a paper, and around the same time realized I'll be looking for a job in a couple years. There is a reason people project different images professionally & among friends; neither image is a false representation, each is just incomplete, and each serves a different purpose. It makes me happy to revel in immaturity, sometimes; I talk to the dog in baby-talk, I get drunk & dance while standing on the couch, I rev my engine & accelerate to 60 in second gear (caveat: never while drunk!), I goof around and talk like I'm Ice Cube, amongst friends. Am I ashamed of any of this? No. Hell no. But I wouldn't do any of it while on a job interview, either, and that's the thing . . . without anonymity, this blog can be printed out and distributed, stapled to my vita, if whoever is considering hiring me is sufficiently inquisitive.
I think that if I could balance things out, so that the blog gave a full reflection of both my professional & personal life, that would be a little more okay, and I might say "fuck it, let them judge me as a whole." However, there impediments to that in some (perhaps unfortunate) realities of how science works. If I have a study I'm preparing to publish, I can't blog about it in any substantial way, without jeopardizing its publication; you can't have published work anywhere else, first, if you want a decent journal to publish it. If I have an experiment I'm beginning work on, I can't blog about it without risking someone scooping me; the reality is that there's "intellectual property" in science. In an ideal world, science is an ego-less search for truth, and there is a free & flowing exchange of information, and I honestly try to promote that as much as possible, offering my thoughts freely, trying to build collaborative, cooperative relationships . . . but the truth is that I will fail as a research academic if I don't carve out an intellectual space to call my own.
So, those are my thoughts for today. I can't say what I'll do going forward . . . I'll have to give it more thought. Maybe there's a balance that can be reached. If you have any thoughts, I'd love to hear 'em. Yes, they may include "You're lame! Stop taking yourself so seriously and just write!". :-) posted by Miles 12:42 PM
Nice blog, babe.
Free exchange of knowledge and information is a high ideal... one that may be inherently incompatible with associating pieces of specific knowledge and information to their individual discoverers. So science, like you, requires both outspokenness and measured silence. Here's hoping you find a comfortable seat somewhere in the middle.
It also depends on whether you *want* to work with/for people who will be uncomfortable with your private persona existing privately. As long as you don't write about breaking the law, or anyone else breaking the law, theoretically, I think your potential bosses/colleagues *ought* to be able to say "what he does on his own time is his own business - and maybe I even kinda like it that he's got a slightly wacky personality, cares about his family/friends, and thinks creatively."