I have been blogging more or less for almost ten years. Some years more than others of course. Every time I hear or read something interesting, I think to myself ‘oh, I should blog about that’ – and the draft posts in my dashboard is full of half-written blog posts about thoughts, ideas and opinions about almost everything. So why have I not published anything (especially anything of any substance) in a while? Well, after a conversation with a colleague yesterday, I think I’ve figured out the “why”. You see, I started this blog as an undergraduate. It was a place that I could ramble on about things that I didn’t understand, or work through understanding some theory or other, I shared reading notes and opinions on different aspects of my gaming experience, and even divulged curious thoughts about my personal life. I had no problem sharing what was in my head.
But the further along in my academic career I had gotten, the more and more I have become aware of what goes online stays online; colleagues and prospective employers search online to find out more about each other. Opinions are formed. With PhD in hand, I realize that I have increasingly become afraid of misinterpreting a book or theory and sharing that misinformed knowledge with the world. I have become nervous about ‘oversharing’ aspects of my personal life that I once found funny or curious because ‘you never know who is reading’ and how it will be perceived.
For me, blogging used to be an informal outlet for my random thoughts and jibberish, but as I get older and work the job market, I am more and more apprehensive about blogging about almost anything beyond newsworthy links and practical information. In the end, I’ve realized that the further along in my ‘career’ I’ve become, the less apt I am to share openly what is on my mind. I am realizing that there was freedom in being a ‘young’, green academic. I could say what came to the top of my head; ramble on about what X author made me think about, play with making connections – putting it out there to see what others thought and helped me think through things. But now, I am afraid of getting it wrong; of writing a rambling post on my thoughts on actor-network-theory and avatars and have someone tell me that I got it wrong. That thats now how it works, or worse yet, a prospective employer googling my as they review my application and stumbling upon a post that makes them think “hm, this lady doesn’t have a clue about X or Y” … And so, I realize that I have been blogging ‘safely’ – which most often ends up not at all.
Which brings me back to a question that Bart Simon asked me way back when I first started blogging -what is blogging to me? why am I blogging? Who am I blogging for? and What do I want to get out of blogging on a public platform? – I think it’s time I review my answers on these questions and see where it takes me as I try to move forward in (re)establishing my “digital presence” (this wasn’t even a thing when I started blogging!! – gah! Having to think about my image and ‘digital presence’ ugh!! lol)