Friday, October 09, 2009

The shadow knows

Just a quick post to say that lately, if I'm in conversation with a group of people or at a conference, and we're talking about etexts or libraries or academic blogging or the future of the book, I find myself wanting to say, "You're so right! I wrote a blog post about that just last week and said --"

But since it's Professional Self and not Shadow Blog Self having those conversations, I just say, "You're so right!" and beam a smile back at the person. Sometimes I'll go ahead and reiterate the arguments I've made here, but I am always a little worried about it--as though this minuscule portion of the blogosphere is read by multitudes.

I guess Professional Self wants to claim credit for everything good but is too cowardly to own up to all the rants and everything else that comprises a blog. Shadow Blog Self is a little more forgiving about the imperfections of blog utterances, so for now, SBF owns it, and PS doesn't.


Anonymous said...

Undine, I suspect that your blog attracts many readers. But I don't believe that aspect should deter you from engaging in discourse on subjects about which you feel passionately - even if some points are reiterating what you've already discussed in your blog.

You are your Professional Self. Equally - perhaps, at times more so, you are your Blog Self (I refuse to use the word "Shadow")and both are YOU.

Ultimately does it really matter all that much that some might make the connection?

How likely is it? And how much does it matter?

If it means that you might 'restrain' yourself in your Blog Self, then that would truly be a shame. And a loss!

ArticulateDad said...

My approach has been that I care not who of my Blog Self friends know my in RL, but that I wish not to allow those who only know me in RL to discover my blog. That is to say, in my blog I show myself naked. It should offend none of them to see me clothed. But it's not always the same the other way round.

Perhaps you're wise to simply smile.

dance said...

Yeah, in my Professional Self, I refer to a lot of "conversations" with unspecified colleagues.

Anonymous said...

Like Dance, I often refer to unspecified friends (meaning blog peeps) in conversations with colleagues. I just learn so much from all of you... :)

The Bittersweet Girl said...

Ditto what Dance said.

If my RL colleagues knew that 90% of what I know about this profession/my discipline came from bloggers, they would probably be shocked. But, it's thanks to all of you & your collective wisdom, that I often sound much more authoritative than I really am.

And, I share your fear that one day I'll be self-plagiarizing and someone will say, "Hey, I read that on a blog yesterday" and my Secret Identity will be blown. As if.

Anonymous said...

Don't rule out the possibility of people finding this stuff. Google will bring them to you, somehow. And if they're searching for things that are in your blog, then you are already at least slightly more likely to meet them at a conference or similar, our discipline really isn't that big... This is one reason why I decided against being anonymous, but as far as linking goes I have always followed a policy like ArticulateDad's; don't reference my academic self in LJ posts about personal life, etc. please. Sooner or later it will crack, as all security through obcsurity does.

undine said...

Anon, thanks for putting those two selves back together. I think you've identified the key question: "How likely is it? And how much does it matter?" I can't answer the "likely" question, since that's out of my control, but the "does it matter?" question is one that I think every blogger has to figure out.

ArticulateDad, that's interesting and the opposite of what I'd have thought. I feel a bit the same way: Blog Self friends would understand blog culture and have a more nuanced (probably) interpretation of what bloggers talk about. Nonbloggers might tend to worry more about "what did Blogger X say about ME?"

undine said...

Dance--ah, the unnamed "colleague"! I do the same thing, since, like Ink, I learn a lot by reading blogs. I wonder if most academics still have the impression that blogs are still (if they ever were) written by & for people who post mostly about what their cats did and what they had for lunch--not that everyone doesn't post about cats now and again :).

undine said...

Bittersweet Girl--"self-plagiarizing"--that's the word I wanted.

tenthmedieval--I think you're right about "security through obscurity" not being bulletproof. Since you've blogged under your own name from the outset, it must be freeing in one way that you can't be outed. I've noticed, though, that the blog content of some bloggers who started as pseudonymous and went on to be named (like Tenured Radical) changed somewhat after the outing. Someone ought to do a study (or maybe already is doing one) about the changes that going from unnamed to named would bring.

Anonymous said...

Well, a chair and my dean know about my blog because my X used university equipment to cyberstalk me.

They agree with him that in the blog I focus on giving high level academic advice I have no right to give, and that I pass myself off as being far more intelligent than I really am.

I don't think they read my blog or my other work, either. I wonder if they think I have that ghostwritten, too.

There's absolutely nothing on this blog to worry about people finding, though -- it's not a tell-most in the way mine is.

What is funny, though, is that I have non anonymous readers who I do not think would give me the time of day IRL, and I read and enjoy blogs in field by people I do not like IRL. Then at the same time I've got good friends with blogs I do not relate to at all, i.e. that would not lead me to think we'd be friends.

But then I am pseudonymous, not anonymous; a person in field who wanted to could figure out who I was by a process of elimination since I say what state I'm in and there are only so many schools.

undine said...

That's a confusing set of comments from your admins, profacero: if you seem intelligent on your blog, wouldn't you have to be intelligent to do that? They can't seriously believe you have a ghostwriter, not on an academic's salary!