Will my blog entries doom my job interview?
June 15, 2011 8:11 AM   Subscribe

Adjunct faculty interview coming up; I have a blog that might raise some eyebrows -- should I take my name off it/delete posts?

Interview is @ a community college in the Philly area. Post would be for comp instructor. I use the blog to do things like talk about how fucking David Mamet has lost his fucking mind, and how our Hon. Gov. Corbett needs to have his head in the toilet and be given a swirly (latter example made up but representative). Nothing sexual, very very little about my personal life. I'd rather leave the blog as is, but would like the job too. Do I need to choose one over the other?
posted by anonymous to Education (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Um. Would the waybackmachine link the blog to your name? If yes, maybe be up front about the blog before the interview? Because if the cat is out of the bag, and you try to stuff it back in, that might look worse...

I'm not familiar enough with the state of academia to know if that's actually a good idea, but it's definitely something to consider.
posted by bilabial at 8:13 AM on June 15, 2011

Taking your full name off the blog so search engines can't find it seems like a decent compromise. It'll take some time for search engines to lose it, so you might want to lock it up in the meanwhile.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:14 AM on June 15, 2011 [3 favorites]

If you're headed for an academic career, you should be very, very careful. I work in academic PR and have my Facebook page on lockdown, and even then I'm wary of posting controversial, crude or political content. Working for a public institution makes it doubly necessary. I'm FB friends with my boss, and it keeps me honest ;)

Also: the interwebs don't always erase stuff very well, so you're most likely going to be connected to it no matter what you do. At the bare minimum you should have a statement that this blog represents solely your own opinions and not those of your employers or colleagues. It's not a legal thing, nor will it prevent much grousing from people who are wont to do such things, but it's a start.
posted by Madamina at 8:17 AM on June 15, 2011 [3 favorites]

Don't blog until you have tenure.
posted by philokalia at 8:19 AM on June 15, 2011 [5 favorites]

Well, anecdotal: my friend was offered a position as a music teacher in a local school district last week. The next day, the superintendent of schools called him personally and said the offer was being rescinded because of inappropriate content on his facebook info page. Turns out it was a quote on the page of a band he's in, and yes, it was sort of inappropriate, and it was just a joke (and his security settings weren't as locked-down as they should have been), but he lost the job anyway.

Anyway, I know local school district does not equal community college, but if I were you, I'd do as much to mitigate damage as possible. That might mean actually mentioning it in the interview and putting a disclaimer on it immediately ("This blog represents my personal opinions and not those of any institution I work for" sort of thing).
posted by cooker girl at 8:22 AM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

For god's sake, don't have a ranty vanity blog if you work in a highly competitive, highly political field. Unless you're a Teflon superstar, you are only hurting yourself.

As others have noted, though, it will take a while to have your name scrubbed off the site, so it may be a moot point for this interview. But going forward, pseudonyms or anonymity.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 8:24 AM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

The blog can only hurt you. An interviewer who totally clicks with your views and ways of expressing them might like it and give you points for it, but that's exceedingly unlikely. The risks far outweigh the benefits. Start working on scrubbing it from the internets now.

(Oh, and I doubt that they will go so far as checking wayback machine, but I guess it's possible.)
posted by yarly at 8:28 AM on June 15, 2011

Take your name off the blog, absolutely. Also, lock down your Facebook if you can.

Your interviewers might casually google you, but they aren't going to use the wayback machine or google cache at this point. They might not even know how to use those things, and they aren't going to care enough to dig deeply into you, I'd guess.

But like someone else said, It's really best to avoid putting political opinions out there until you have tenure.
posted by vincele at 8:31 AM on June 15, 2011

When I (and people I know) have interviewed for adjunct work at community colleges, the interview went like this: "So, you have a pulse?" "Yep!" "And you can read?" "Sure can!" "Okay, good, see you in the fall."

(Well, okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration. But only a bit.)

So, I don't think that your interview to work as adjunct faculty is where your blog is going to bite you. I suspect it would only become an issue if a student googled your name, found your blog, and then raised a giant stink about it for some reason. (Don't discount this: you give a student a bad grade, or even just have a student dislike you for no good reason, and you'll have a huge annoyance. You want to give such students as little firewood to burn you with as possible.) Everyone else is right that you seriously should get your name off the blog asap... But I doubt it would be a problem just yet.
posted by meese at 8:32 AM on June 15, 2011 [9 favorites]

Well, by all means, try not to preemptively piss off people who may play some role in your career, and if you are looking for more permanent academic positions do scrub your web presence. But in this case I have to agree with meese, contra prevailing wisdom in this thread...I'd be a little surprised if this is something they would care about for an adjunct comp instructor.
posted by advil at 8:38 AM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

The blog can only hurt you.

Yep, this.
posted by procrastination at 8:38 AM on June 15, 2011

They have probably already Googled you - if not, it's too late to change the site and have Google notice.

Alternate short term idea - keep your name on the blog and right smack on the front page next to your name put a picture of someone who is obviously not you (however, don't explicitly caption the photo as being you). If someone brings up the blog just roll your eyes and sigh exasperatedly and start complaining how much trouble that damn blog causes you! Then change the subject.

For the long term, remove your name from the blog and let it fade into obscurity. Start a new blog with a pen name that has no obvious links to you.
posted by mikepop at 8:54 AM on June 15, 2011

I've had my blog mentioned at interviews, but only in the context of, "Don't blog about your work, k?"

(To which I kind of squint, since my blog is a book review/writing site, and had nothing to do with the work on question, but was easy enough to agree to.)

I've also known quite a few comp professors who had various types of blogs--usually in-field stuff, from movie reviews (for film profs) to poetry sites. This may have reflected the lax views of my institution or the way these bloggers carried themselves. I'd consider deleting the blog in question, and starting one that actually is relevant to your field, because that could feasibly actually help you, not hurt you.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:57 AM on June 15, 2011

i've blogged for a decade, and am easily findable, and am going into academia--in many ways the damage is already done, and the information cannot be rescended.
posted by PinkMoose at 9:51 AM on June 15, 2011

[comments removed - do not do that "this is what I found out your name is" stuff here, period.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:04 AM on June 15, 2011

I don't think you should worry about it in this instance. It's no big deal. Remove the personal information from your blog, and focus on doing well in the interview.

If you're really worried about your name coming up in Google search results, there are quite a few ways to deal with the problem.

1) On Facebook, I've included my middle initial in my FB name, so my Googling my name never displays my FB profile. I've also un-friended any business or personal connections.

2) Create a YouTube account using your own name. Google loves YouTube, and it will always display on the first page. Consider creating short videos where you talk about your research interests.

3) Create a Quora account under your own name, and start answering questions relevant to your field. Once again, this will come to the top of Google search rankings.

4) Remain active on LinkedIn

5) Create a Twitter account under your own name, and Tweet about your research interests. Once again, this will climb to the top of Search

6) Create a Scrib account and regularly upload examples of your research (if you stop uploading, Scribd will fall off the front page)

7) Create a Squidoo lens using your first name, and make sure it is frequently uploaded

8) Consider creating a Wikipedia username that uses your real name. Try creating a quality Wikipedia article that is relevant to your field. Once again, this should rise to the top of Search.

9) Try creating a New York Times account under your real name, and make intelligent comments on articles relevant to your research interests. This should also show up in Search

10) Create a Yahoo Answers profile using your real name, and answer questions that are relevant to your research interests.

11) Cross-link, cross-link, cross-link amongst all of these various properties, in order to help SERP.

This may sound spammy, but it is not - it's about managing your online reputation, which is about helping secure a meaningful career.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:12 AM on June 15, 2011 [53 favorites]

I should say that all of these efforts should help remove unwanted Search results for your name from the front page of Google Search.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:14 AM on June 15, 2011

Take it down and stop blogging until you get tenure. Seriously.
posted by rr at 10:33 AM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'll add to KokuRyu's excellent advice:

12) Start a separate blog at firstname-lastname.com where you have your resume and more professional-type stuff.

You don't have to update more than a few times per year, but it should move to the top of any Google search about you pretty quickly.
posted by coolguymichael at 11:24 AM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

If PA is like IL, the governor will technically be your boss if you take a job at a community college. Some folks might not take kindly to boss-bashing, but I doubt it would hurt you right now.

IME, most people involved in hiring at a c.c. won't even know how to find your blog, let alone how to find random old entries that may have included bad words in them or tirades about politicians. I would start posting innocuous things to move questionable posts as far back in your archive as you can. Recent blog posts in one's area of expertise is actually a good practice for eventual tenure, so try to keep the possibly objectionable stuff off the front page, and in the past.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 12:18 PM on June 15, 2011

I'm in academia, and you're getting a lot of paronoid advise.

Sheesh. How much time does everyone think we have?

It's an adjunct job. They are not going to google you. They're not even going to read your entire cover letter and CV. They'll skim your teaching philosophy (if they even require it).

They'll put a lot of consideration on the interview. That's the thing to nail.
posted by Murray M at 6:11 PM on June 15, 2011

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