deLong explains why academic blogging is good for the soul
I would not have dared to blog openly before tenure (and, no, I did not blog anonymously back then), basically it would not have been well received by most of the tenure committee, or the Dean.
Strangely, if I had been writing a regular short column for SEED magazine or equivalent it would probably have counted as a mild plus for most of the committee, but the web equivalent, not so much.
I started the blog as an experiment – the possibility had been tossed about as an outreach exercise for a particular project I was involved in, and rather than talk about it in yet-another-meeting, I decided to see how easy it was to do this blog thing, and then it evolved. No design.
As I have noted before blogging has its pros and cons. It does take up valuable time from both work and family, but it also lubricates the wheels of research, in my experience. With suitable coarse graining, my blog output correlates well with my research output – blank blog periods are indicative of less work, whether due to travel, extrinsic causes or quaint archaic concepts called vacations I once heard about…
Do I need an additional activity in my already rather too busy life? Maybe not, and if the blog ever seriously impinged Real Life I like to think I’d drop it; but I am also a firm believer in the concept that in the long run you need some free association and play to maximise sustained productivity and happiness (not necessarily in that order).
Only way to find out is to try it.
PS: two major benefits – it motivates me to stay updated with the broader aspects of my field and related issues, such as policy and activities in other branches of science, which I firmly believe is important for me, both personally and professionally.
Blogging has also lead to at least one decent paper.