Academics Anonymous

BlogHer Original Post

Earlier this week I wrote about academics who blog anonymously. Since then, Inside Higher Education published an article by Jeff Rice in which Rice argues that academic blogging is groaning under a "burden of seriousness" that is exacerbated by the bloggers' use of pseudonyms.

And so began this week's poopstorm in the academic blogosphere and especially among women bloggers.

Dr. Crazy asked Rice if he might not "try reading the people whom you choose to quote." She continues:

And don't use me to support your argument that blogging, particularly pseudonymous blogging, is too serious, or at least not "serious" in terms of "postmodern play and experimentation" in a way that you deem appropriate for the genre. Dude, I AM experimenting. I AM playing. You just weren't invited to the game.

New Kid on the Hallway asks what anonymity and seriousness really have to do with each other" and in another post explains why she thinks Rice's article "mischaracterizes pseudonymous blogging."

Lisa of Instructional Technology talks about what's at stake in academic blogging:

Familiarity with writing for the Web is part of my professional expertise in any case, and the drive for tenure is not likely to be part of my future. I'm lucky. Many of my blogging peers are less fortunate...

Kermitthefrog weighs in on the issue as well:

I'm wary of the implication that there's some sort of duty towards playfulness in academic blogging. If part of the reason why people blog, anonymously or not, is to start conversations with other academics, as Rice endorses, then those conversations don't necessarily need to be founded on technological or textually "playful" innovations. Common complaints, for instance, provide a ground for sharing advice and sympathy and for developing a feel for the broader community of academics outside one's own department or university. As a blogger who started writing primarily for this reason - to join a conversation - I resent feeling some kind of obligation to the blog form itself, for the sake of "newness" alone.

In response to all this, jo(e) launches a thoughtful and thought-provoking meme on pseudonymity.

As always, be sure to check out the comments threads on these posts, as lots of great discussion and debate takes place in them.