I am the worst kept secret in the blogosphere.* I once did a tally of all of the professors I’ve “come out” to, and in my field alone, it’s probably at least 25-30. And mind you, 95% of these people contacted me first, either by comment or more commonly, direct email, to offer words of advice or encouragement. My blog is a great networking tool! I don’t think I’d know so many people pre-market without it, and it’s made conference experiences better, and I’ve certainly gotten good advice and feedback from my contacts. And great extra mentoring.
But I keep a very low blogging profile at my school. None of my professors know that I blog, or who I am. It just would take the joy out of procrastination if they were wondering if I was spending more time blogging than reading (not true! I would blog more often if so!). It suddenly occurred to me today that I have never had a professor who was also a blogger. My school has at most one blogger (there’s an annual tally), and I am not sure the vast majority of the profs there even read blogs, even though there are tons of blogs in our discipline.
Anyway, one of my profs at another department is a blogger, and I’m reading his posts, and he’s even mentioning his posts in class (most of the students have never heard of this uber blog, and I’m like “where have you been”), and I’m thinking he’s probably read me here and there, and it’s all I can do to refrain from demonstrating my too-great knowledge of his posts and the comments and the other bloggers. I am also refraining from linking to his posts. It is kind of frustrating, because one of the things I love best about the academic blogosphere is the lively discourse, and I am not very good at being circumspect.
Do students ever come up to you and say “man, I love your blogging?” Do they tell you about their blogs? Do you look at the trackback links and realize that one of your students is blogging about you and your class? How do you feel about that? I’ve always blogged obliquely about my classes, refraining from naming the professor, and discussing instead what I like about the booklist or pedagogical approach or framing and whatnot. But again, I’ve never had a blogger for a professor, and thus never had an occasion to interact with or intellectually engage a professor on multiple fronts. I’d never realized before today how separate I consider the academic blogosphere and the academic institution, but now worlds are colliding.
* Aside from Drek, who is only a secret to me. He is a man of mystery.