I changed my “about” blurb to eliminate the name of my employer. There is a new Board of Trustees policy (still technically in draft form) that proclaims that faculty members will be disciplined if they do not get prior approval for “[a]ny website of or pertaining to the College, including without limitation, any websites concerning a College research program, academic program, social program, or community program.” Furthermore, all websites mentioning the college must reside on college servers. Any website not in compliance will be TAKEN DOWN! (By their authority over all servers, or their endless resources for lawsuits, presumably.) This is supposed to be a policy about marketing materials, but in the definitions section they say:
This encompasses all written, printed, electronic, or graphic representations utilizing the College’s name, logos, trademarks, service marks, or URLs referring to any program, project, service, or operation of the College. For avoidance of doubt, the term “marketing materials”, as used in this policy, also includes any letterhead or print publication, as well as materials uploaded to internet and social media sites that publicize and/or promote the College in any way.
So, for the record, I am not promoting or marketing the college where I work and that shall not be named. Any academic discussions herein reflect my own personal intellectual products and are no reflection whatsoever on my employer.
I could link you to the website with these policies so you could see for yourself but I’m afraid that would involve a URL belonging to the college that shall not be named, and I don’t wish to be disciplined, so you’ll just have to believe me that I’ve quoted accurately.
I have been blogging since Blogger was its own separate company, before Google bought it. I had a LiveJournal and a Journalfen, multiple Blogger blogs and WordPress blogs, and some blogs in systems whose names I’ve forgotten. Fifteen years of blogging.
I did a lot of fandom blogging under fandom names. (I am a science fiction fan.) Lately I’ve been blogging on Tumblr because it is easy and there’s an app for my tablet and phone. I feel philosophically more aligned with Dreamwidth, but fandom has moved to Tumblr and you have to blog where the people are.
I have also blogged as an academic. (I am a community college English professor.) I’ve had course blogs and academic ranting blogs and even a blog on MLA Commons. None have felt particularly comfortable or easy to maintain. I was always worried that my writing wasn’t translating well to non-academics, or that I had crossed the line from critiquing to complaining.
My most successful blogging was as a family history/genealogy hobbyist. That blog got the most hits and comments, and I met some cousins through it. I also got lots of comments telling me my well-documented claims were wrong, or asking for help with research unrelated to my family, or complaining that I wasn’t covering their ancestors. It started to feel like work instead of a fun hobby. (My surname list and Ahnentafel is linked in the column on the right if you wish to check our relatedness.)
Last week in a work meeting, people discussed qualifications for teaching online writing, and one qualification that people agreed on was evidence that the instructor has been writing online for at least six months. Now, I’ve been writing online for fifteen years, but I didn’t have a single place I could point people to see all that work, not professional colleagues anyway. So I’ve decided to revamp this site as that permanent blog space.
This blog is my main online home, where I post my work and thoughts to my own domain. It’s a link I can share publicly. It is a kind of a diary, though I’ll post academics and genealogy as they come up. I maintain a couple of tumblr blogs where I can quickly post links for academic and genealogical purposes. I also have Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. All those links are in the column on the right. Follow or ignore as you please.