October 12, 2005

Academic Bloggers

So, I've entered into the fray -- the blogging on bloggers in academia. Having been interviewed by Scott Jasich, one of the founding editors of Inside Higher Education, about Daniel Drezner's denial of tenure, I've now written about it in today's newsletter. Although Drezner, a highly respected and well-published scholar, stays away from stating it, the evidence points to the fact that his blogging was a part of the negative tenure decision.

Although this seems hard to believe, consider the fact that the most senior tenured faculty are the least likely to read, and certainly to write blogs. The older you are, the more difficult to grasp technology. I've been told that there is something called "network effects" in marketing -- the idea that until there is a venue and a raison d'etre for something new, people will be slow to adopt it. And face it, older people are the slowest to adopt something new. This mistrust of "new-fangled" technology is often seen in caricatures of the elderly. I'm closing in on elderly myself, and I can see among my cohort far less use of text messaging, cell phone picture taking, and blogging than among 20- and 30- somethings.

Now I'm not saying that tenured faculty are elderly, just that they would tend to be later adopters of the more advance uses of technology. I remember when my son was a teenager and he had 10 messages on i.m. at the same time. I couldn't see the point. Now I spend half the day on yahoo i.m. with my webmaster (hi, Kera). I had to have the need and someone who was a peer who shared that need.

All this adds up to
  1. some, not all, tenured faculty mistrusting the motives of the people the most involved in blogging.
  2. a very sorry state of affairs for higher education.


At 2:19 PM, Blogger Grace said...

I received the blog information re: resources. That was great to see in print!!
Gina, thanks for adding that information to the web site. Gina, you remind me of Terri Gross on National Public Radio: the Fresh Air program. She is laser-direct, compassionate and asks great questions to the interviewees.

Writing a dissertation is very isolating, and over time it is easy to believe that it no longer has meaning or purpose.

I look forward to our group every Thursday. It has inspired me and I no longer feel "paralyzed" due to the support and energy of our group.

"See" you tomorrow!

At 10:25 PM, Blogger Gina Hiatt, Ph.D. said...

Thanks, DeAnna -- I love being compared to Terri Gross!

It's my life's mission to help people working on dissertations and tenure feel less isolated, and it's an honor to help you with that.


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