The Thoughtful Animal

So I Was Interviewed…

…For a feature article in this week’s Nature on how scientists go about developing and managing online personas. You can check out the article – for free – here. It’s a good article, and you’ll probably recognize some other familiar faces (e-faces? blog-faces?) in it as well.

While the interview, which I did back in the beginning of February, was enjoyable, I fear that my quotation in this article is slightly out of context. To be fair, I don’t remember the exact course of the conversation I had with the writer – but here, I’ll use my blog to make clear what I meant and ground my statement in context.

I’m quoted thusly:

Some hope their blogging will enhance their career prospects. For instance, Jason Goldman — a PhD student in developmental psychology at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles — says that he hopes to mention his blogging efforts in the outreach component of his tenure application when the time comes. Goldman started his blog, ‘The Thoughtful Animal’, to call attention to animal research that sheds light on the evolution of the mind. “Lots of people write on animals, but there wasn’t a blog devoted to the science of animal cognition. I saw a hole I thought I could fill,” he says.

As I’ve said many times – most recently, here – blogging to enhance your career prospects is a bad idea. If it happens as a wonderful side effect, that’s great. But I tend to think of blogging more like icing than like cake. But that un-iced cake better be pretty fantastic to begin with.

What I do hope, years from now, when it comes time for me to be thinking about tenure, is that the inclusion of blogging-related activities will be so common-place in tenure applications that it won’t be strange or unusual or unexpected. It is in that context that – yes – I do hope to include my blogging efforts in the outreach component of my tenure application when the time comes.

Comments

  1. #1 John Hawks
    March 30, 2011

    Oh, look at that! Nice photo.

    How’d I get to be the voice of “reining yourself in”?

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