Blogging Graduate Students
Basically, academic blogging at its best can represent what Tim Burke thinks an academic conference should be. Originally, I began blogging because it was a good way for me to contribute to a public discussion of issues I cared about, but increasingly it also serves as a means to discuss issues that affect us all as a profession. Reading and participating in blog discussions has helped sharpen my sense of what it means to be a professional historian and academic while keeping me in touch with many currents that may not affect my dissertation work, but are still important to the field as a whole. At the same time, it's a valuable means of networking. My recent trip to Egypt was much more valuable thanks to my knowing folks at The Arabist Network and LAT than it would have been if I had simply done nothing but see the sites and work in the archives.
I can understand why people might be suspicious of blogging, because it often makes the news for stuff like this. I also recognize that because I'm in a subfield where Juan Cole made it a legitimate activity early on, I might not be getting the full sense of anti-blog prejudice that's out there. However, I'm willing to argue that it's concrete professional benefits outweigh those disadvantages, and that while a search committee might frown if they learn I have a blog, the subtle impact of blog participation on the rest of my persona will make me a stronger job candidate in the long run.