At one of the blogging talks I gave recently Niall Sclater asked me what were the downsides to academics blogging. I gave an unsatisfactory answer about it being a possible time sink and also you could get yourself in trouble saying things about people or projects. It occurred to me afterwards (I was always one of those people who had a witty reply two days after an event) that a very real downside for many academics is that it isn’t recognised as a legitimate academic activity. For instance, there is no allocation for ‘blogging’ in my annual work plan. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I think I have written fewer academic journal papers since becoming a serious blogger. If I was chasing promotion then blogging might be an activity I could ill afford alongside those that are deemed promotion-worthy.
As a Professor with the luxury of tenure I can, to an extent, ignore some of these pressures. That’s kind of what tenure is about, although I like to think I pull my weight still on University projects. But if I were a hungry, ambitious lecturer seeking promotion to senior level, would blogging be a help or a hindrance?