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01/29/2024

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My future self

I think if your life is going to involve blogging in the future, then there is no better time than now to start. I personally do not like blogs as a medium, and I can imagine all sorts of ways in which people may use what you write on your blog against you. You may even lose job opportunities. But if your identity is tied up with blogging then you might as well do it, provided you value it more than having an academic job. It is unlikely to get you an academic job - so there are better things to do with your time if getting an academic job is one of your chief aims in life.

Richard Y Chappell

I've always found that blogging boosted my general productivity, as I use it as a kind of "brainstorming" platform from which I can then pick my most promising ideas/arguments to develop further into full papers. But YMMV.

As a grad student, I wrote up the following list of "pros and cons":
https://www.philosophyetc.net/2009/03/academic-blogging-pros-and-cons.html

Trevor Hedberg

I had a few job interviews where the interviewers mentioned being familiar with who I was through my blog posts on this platform despite having never read any of my published philosophical research. (In at least one of these situations, I was ultimately offered the job.) Having a little extra name recognition can go a long way in certain contexts given how hard it is to stand out from the pack in the current job market. It's hard to make an objective cost-benefit analysis of all the potential factors that are relevant, though. I starting intermittently blogging because it was something I wanted to do -- not because I thought it was something that would have a big impact on my career.

David Thorstad

I started a blog while a postdoc. It was pretty terrifying, to be honest, and I've made some mistakes, but overall I think it's been helpful for generating ideas and for increasing the audience for my papers. It's also been a good way to connect with non-academic audiences and to get perspectives from disciplines I don't have strong networks in.

Bill Vanderburgh

There's really something to be said for having writing habits where you are regularly producing new material, whatever it is. It often ends up leading you to write more and better than you would have if you only worked on what you are required to do. In this regard, journaling works as well as blogging. Blogging might give you some external incentive to keep at it, and it might give you both practice at and useful exposure being a public philosopher. (Caveat: I can imagine there could be a small number of departments that would hold being a public philosopher against you. But since you are already interested in and see the importance of public philosophy, you don't want to work at those places anyway.)

There is a cadre of X/Twitter-active philosophy grad students. My impression is that other philosophers think it is neat to meet or interact with them, and that their being active on social media has neither helped nor hurt their professional prospects, except that it has given them a larger network than most grad students have. I can imagine similar benefits from blogging public philosophy. (Though I have to say from my experience it is very difficult to build an audience, especially now that X has disintegrated and other platforms don't have the reach.)

All that said, if you are finished with course work, comps, and your preliminary dissertation research, I would suggest that instead of blogging you aim to write a page or two of your dissertation each day. That's achievable, sustainable over the long term, and will yield a completed draft in a few months. As they say, the best dissertation is a finished dissertation. What you do after that will depend on what time of year it is relative to the job cycle.

Santa Monica

The correct answer to your question, I suspect, is to not publish badly defended, half-baked ideas anywhere. Otherwise, do what makes you happy.

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