Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Are academic bloggers more cynical than other academics?

This morning one of my professors said "Watch out about listening to academic bloggers, they are probably people who have had negative experiences, so they might not be the best people to be getting advice from."

This came up because for whatever reason the six other people in my class can never get there on time and so I was making conversation with him. He mentioned that he was hosting a job candidate and that the candidates had to give two separate talks, one for the department (there were several possibilities) and one for the major. Joint appointments complicate job searches because you have to be approved by two (or more) different disciplines, and being interdisciplinary, I'm concerned about this process.

I mentioned something how I'm always trying to understand these processes in order to maximize my chances. Then I revealed that I read academic blogs and he responded that maybe bloggers weren't the best people to listen to.

Are bloggers more disgruntled than others? I'm probably the most disgruntled blogger that I know, but in general I haven't found people to be less successful or more dissatisfied than the people I know in RL.


~profgrrrrl~ said...

Hrm. I've been pretty happy with my academic experience. I may complain on blog about the odd day-to-day struggles (people who do irritating things), but you get that stuff anywhere.

BrightStar (B*) said...

That's odd... I think I'm a happy blogger!

jo(e) said...

I'm an academic blogger, and I love my job. I don't think I'm cynical or disgruntled.

The kind of stuff that I read on academic blogs matches pretty closely to the stuff I hear "in real life" when I get together with colleagues at conferences.

saxifraga said...

My own blog is definately not cynical nor disgruntled and neither are most of the other blogs I follow. There are some angry people out there, who are having a tough ride on the academic rollercoaster, but I would think most readers of academic blogs can be trusted to weigh the information the get from different blogs.

Actually I think there are a great many academic blogs written by succesfull people who have maybe even been unusually lucky in job search et al.

ArticulateDad said...

As one who is "having a tough ride on the academic rollercoaster" as saxifraga put it, I wouldn't necessarily chalk up my blog as more cynical than otherwise. The issue is a simple one: what is the intention of the blogger in writing?

Perhaps there are those who seek nothing more than to vent their own dissatisfaction. But I don't know any of them. More likely, like me, many are seeking community, a sense of belonging, and an outlet for the process, a means of organizing it, to reflect on others' experiences, and have one's own reflected on as well.

This is reality. The corollary implication of your professor's statement is that those without negative experiences are perhaps better for getting advice. But, were that simply the case, those like me would not be having these negative experiences. In part, my chronicling is meant to serve as validation for some (me as well) that those negative experiences need not consume us, they do not define us; but we are not invisible.

TenureTrackNewbie said...

On the journey of moving from undergraduate to graduate to tenure-track job, the number of people who are just like you decreases. By the time you have started a faculty position, there are very few colleagues who share your interests, marital status, age. You begin to feel a bit lonely on your journey. That's why blogging is a great way to connect with the few individuals out there who are little bit like yourself. Wow, that's damn depressing!