Friday, February 1, 2008

Hi students

Yes, I know you're here. More on how in a minute, but first, can I ask a favor of you? Feel free to keep reading -- heck, add me to your RSS feeder. You're totally welcome here. *But*, for the time being, please don't tell anyone outside of the Middle English class about my blog. Some people think blogging, even academic blogging, is a silly waste of time -- even though I've made all sorts of fantastic professional connections through blogging -- and some of those anti-blog folks could be the ones deciding whether to give me tenure or not. So it's important to me to remain pseudonymous, at least until the end of this year, when -- fingers crossed! -- my tenure process is complete.

Oh, and if you don't know what tenure is, just ask. But to make a long story short, if I don't get it, it means I'm fired. (But you probably knew that.)

So, here's how I know you're here. I have something installed on my blog called "Sitemeter," and it tells me how many visitors I have each day, where those visitors are located -- or at least where their Internet Service Provider is located -- and how you got here, whether directly or from another blog or web site. For instance, this afternoon, two of you -- or the same person twice -- got here from the link on the Chaucer Blog, and you did so from one of the computers in the lab in our department's building, so I'm guessing you're one (or two) of the graduate students. I'm not telling you this to freak you out, but just to let you know that you're only slightly more anonymous than I am. The first lesson of blogging is that you're never really anonymous, which is why I'm not really that bothered that I've outed myself to you. But you should keep that in mind.

So since I know you're here, leave a comment and say hi! And then maybe I'll introduce you to all the other academics that come around here, just like I would if you saw me at a conference.

Of course, if you have better or more pressing things to do, I understand. I won't be hurt if you don't stick around. Speaking of having more pressing things to do, I promise to grade your last assignment this weekend!

PS -- Also, I think it tells you something (though not everything) about the academic blogosphere that the two posts with the most comments of those currently on the front page are the one in which I talk about accidentally outing myself to you guys in class and the one in which I show everybody the boots I ordered from Zappos. Yup, that's what we professorial types like to talk about -- you guys (and what you think of us) and our shoes.


Renaissance Girl said...

I feel for you. I think I've got a couple of lurking students and I was freaked until I saw your admirable piece of up-frontness in the last couple of posts. Nice work.

Anonymous said...

Frankly, if I were you, I'd make the blog protected until you have the final decision. I doubt that undergraduates have any idea of what is really at stake.

Jeffrey Cohen said...

I know it's easy for a tenured person to say this ... but boy is it hard for me to imagine a world so crazy that having a blog has a negative impact upon a tenure decision.

Dr. Virago said...

I'm sure I'm just being over-protective. And actually, since our president has an in-house blog, he'd probably *like* that I have one, but since he's all about "transparency" he'd probably tsk-tsk the pseudonym. But I don't know what the Provost is like since she's new. I doubt very much the board would do anything if everyone else had given me the thumbs up.

But, you know, there are still those stories of people getting fired for their blogs -- non-academics and adjuncts, mostly, but still, it makes me a little edgy.

Oh, and Anon., this particular group of students is a savvy, self-selecting bunch, and half of them are graduate students, so I have no doubt they get it. They're cool.

And I'm not sure I know how to protect my blog or if you can with Blogger, anyway. And I'd rather have a public audience -- including my students, if they like. It's not them who make me paranoid.

medieval woman said...

Good for you for being so elegant in your "outdedness"! I am not one of your students, but you knew that... ;)

medieval woman said...

that should have been "outedness"...

Anonymous said... guys (and what you think of us) and our shoes.

*looks down at sparkly Mephistos and blinks confusedly*

You mean there's other stuff? Really?


Anonymous said...

If you decide you need to do it, it's somewhere in the options section with blogger. It is definitely possible.

If my department saw my blog it would be a definite reason not to tenure me. Not because I ever say anything about the university, but it would be seen as "wasted" writing, time spent that should have been spent on something else.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that the tenure process is in any way affected by whether or not one has a blog.