May I rehash the “should I blog or not?” debate for just a brief moment? In the days that I have been too busy to directly connect with the community outside of my university — last year, dissertating while on the job market, and now as an overwhelmed new professor — I have settled for using social media to make academic scholarship accessible and to make a difference in general. No matter the risks, blogging can have some impact, hopefully in others’ lives, but academic bloggers, too, may find that these “extracurricular activities” count for something (including research).
Since I started Conditionally Accepted last July, I have received the following invitations to speak, present, or write:
- To write guest blog posts for Inside Higher Ed: January 22, February 25, March 31, and April 23 (with University of Venus)
- To interview with the grad student editor of ASA’s Section on Medical Sociology winter newsletter
- To present on a panel about open scholarship (in my case, intellectual activism) at Virginia Commonwealth University
- To guest lecture to Dr. Jessica Fields’s graduate level professional seminar in sexuality studies at San Francisco State University (via Skype)
- To give the keynote speech at the Sociology and Anthropology Honors Ceremony Randolph-Macon College
- To present on a panel about navigating LGBTQ identities in academia at the upcoming American Sociological Association meeting
- To present on a panel about using social media as a professional development tool at the upcoming American Sociological Association meeting
- [Declined] National conference panel on LGBT health
- [Declined] Panel about LGBT inclusion at a three-day diversity in higher education conference
- [Declined] National conference panel about navigating the academic job market
Okay, so I said “yes!” to most of these invitations. I stand by my point that actually entertaining the idea, at least without automatically saying “no!”, has been tremendously helpful to my self-esteem. For example, when I was introduced before my keynote speech at Randolph-Macon College last night, I heard how genuine the faculty were in being impressed with my advocacy (and my publication record). I asked myself, why don’t I regularly feel so valued? Often, your value and success is a given in your home department; and, it is not your colleagues’ job to feed your self-esteem. Hey, all the more reason to find external appreciation!
But, the personal significance aside, I want to emphasize that I received ten speaking/writing requests in 10 months, primarily because I write publicly about my experiences in academia. As a first-year professor, I have been invited to speak on a few panels about professional development. I admit, that also means that I have to quiet the voice that says, “well, it’s clearly a low bar — just write a blog post”; but, self-doubt aside, that is the key point — anyone can write about academia and likely find some interested audience who wants more. Blogging counts!