Vanity URLs for Academics
October 25, 2011 4:31 PM   Subscribe

I'm a PhD student with an academic blog and a personal blog, thinking about my future marketability as either an academic or a postdoc style researcher. Should I host it all under myname.net, keep my catchyname.com for the academic blog, or something else?

Main concern: the appearance of vanity or ego, and whether it matters. As I start to (try to) publish and present more, it seems to make sense to host presentations somewhere and have a URL to give to people interested in my work. A few years from now, when I'm on the job market, I want the top result on my Google page (I've got a completely unique name) to represent me completely but simply.

As a secondary consideration, I'd like my Internet friends to be able to find some of my other stuff (none of it is embarrassing enough that I wouldn't want it attached to my name).

Is staking out MyName.net going to look like I'm big for my britches?
posted by Apropos of Something to Education (19 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
My goodness, why would you want to blog under your name, particularly on non-academic matters? There are apparent casualties of this practice.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 4:35 PM on October 25, 2011


The non-academic blogging, and how well it's hidden are up for debate. The academic blogging I think of as more asset than liability, in that it gets me writing more. What some website definitely needs to do is host my CV, list publications, link to any presentations I give in the near or far future and make it easy for folks to contact me.
posted by Apropos of Something at 4:38 PM on October 25, 2011


If you're sensitive to this issue at all, make the academic "blogging"/website more prominent relative to the other.

Just be mindful that older academics may not see your blogging as a net increase in output, but rather as a distraction, and everyone will find it easier to seize on less careful and deliberate product -- without always discounting due to the medium.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 4:41 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Have a look at the answers to this question, too.
posted by cromagnon at 4:42 PM on October 25, 2011


I have initialinitialname.info - e.g. xysmith.info. I keep academic/job stuff there - cvs, etc.

I would seed the academic one solely with content that you would like to see come up associated with your name in search engine results.

I can park multiple domains on the same hosting account so I have other things there too, but they are not connected.
posted by carter at 4:42 PM on October 25, 2011


I am an academic and I use myname.net
posted by k8t at 5:25 PM on October 25, 2011


I am an academic. I have a blog where I talk about certain academic topics (uniquename.org). I also own myname.org (have had it for 12 years). I used to have a personal blog on it (till 2003) but decided that could actually hurt my academic career (and I didn't have much to write anyway).

I scrubbed it clean and removed all traces from web.archive.org

Now myname.org points to a landing page that has links to my professional page (bigfancyuniversity.edu/~myname) and my blog (uniquename.org). Now people can make the connection between the two (I want them to). Searching my name also returns my G+ profile, my university.edu page, my past affiliation pages etc.

Instead of blogging for personal stuff, I share funny links etc with friends over my (locked) twitter account. I have a second twitter account which is the same name as uniquename.org where I share academic stuff.

Scratches both itches for me without compromising my academic career.
posted by babbyʼ); Drop table users; -- at 6:00 PM on October 25, 2011


But yes, it is absolutely ok for you to get myname.net and put a professional stuff there. A well maintained page with a cv, pubs, teaching, presentations etc will be super helpful for you at any career stage.
posted by babbyʼ); Drop table users; -- at 6:04 PM on October 25, 2011


Just be mindful that older academics may not see your blogging as a net increase in output, but rather as a distraction, and everyone will find it easier to seize on less careful and deliberate product -- without always discounting due to the medium.

A few years ago, yes. But now the landscape has changed dramatically. My academic blogging, if anything, has lead to more research opportunities (new collaborations, new funding) than otherwise. If you are productive enough to get an interview, the old fogies are not going to care about your blog.
posted by babbyʼ); Drop table users; -- at 6:05 PM on October 25, 2011


Mix it all up like this guy.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:33 PM on October 25, 2011


In my highly valuable grad student opinion, my guess is that it depends on your field. People in my subject almost always have webspace on a department server, obviating the name for their own domain. I'd think it odd, but not necessarily arrogant, for someone to have their own domain except in two cases I can think of right now. One would be when the person was changing institutions somewhat frequently and might expect all their department webpages to fail (I know of someone who uses a Google site for his webpage, I think for this reason). The other would be for something like a blog that might be irritating to have to move repeatedly, which is precisely what you're talking about. (Plus, from the sound of it, it doesn't sound like department or university webspace is typical for you.)
posted by hoyland at 7:03 PM on October 25, 2011


(Plus, from the sound of it, it doesn't sound like department or university webspace is typical for you.)

I have a fairly archaic students.myuniversity.edu address, but that's got both technical limitations and some obvious social downsides. Absent being attached to some sort of research institute here, I don't anticipate being given space on the university website for my CV or bio. Plus, in addition to the blog, I'd like to be able to change the space a little more often - put up slide presentations, that sort of thing.
posted by Apropos of Something at 7:08 PM on October 25, 2011


students.myuniversity.edu

You'll leave that behind at some point. Might as well get the new one indexed ASAP.
posted by carter at 7:47 PM on October 25, 2011


In my highly valuable grad student opinion, my guess is that it depends on your field. People in my subject almost always have webspace on a department server, obviating the name for their own domain.


Couldn't disagree more.

A) I've attended 3 different grad programs and am now on my second postdoc so I have dealt with this a bit more than you. Academic institutions cut you off the minute you depart. My phd institution thankfully allowed me to keep my email alias permanently but deleted my web space and mailbox six months after graduation. My first postdoc disabled my email and deleted my web page less than 24 hours after I left (standard policy). My current postdoc will disable all my accounts two months after I separate.

So both pages now 404. Even if they don't delete it, they will disable your login which prevents you from updating your page. Senior faculty with poor google fu might casually judge someone to be under productive if they find an outdated page. Why risk that?

B) I'd think it odd, but not necessarily arrogant, for someone to have their own domain

In my field (and related ones) it is now standard practice to get myname.org or myname.info

I can name dozens of grad students, postdocs, and faculty who have landed jobs in the last 5 years, with such domains.
posted by babbyʼ); Drop table users; -- at 8:41 PM on October 25, 2011


FWIW, I host pretty much everything on a myname.com site under my real name. My website contains my CV, my personal blog, a separate blog about my field, and links to most of my online activity including places like MeFi and reddit.

My philosophy is two-fold:
a) Why on earth would I post anything online if I'm not comfortable having my grandmother, coworkers, and boss read it?
b) I don't want to work anywhere where I'm going to have to censor my civil political views or sense of humor.

For what it's worth, I graduated last winter, listed my website on my CV, and got job offers just about everywhere I applied (both private and academic institutions). I've also gotten unsolicited offers from having the blog and CV online. Two of my interviewers mentioned the website, but no one had anything bad to say about it. YMMV.
posted by chrisamiller at 8:43 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm in the process of pretty much doing what chrisamiller has done for my CV/professional me stuff, but unlike him I obviously keep a pseudonym for more social things online.

If you google my full name, most the the first page is me, so like other have noted, so its very useful for folks being able to find me.

I'm also reminded of the first section of Adrian Short recent piece in the Guardian, before he moves on to talk about Facebook's open social
posted by Z303 at 6:36 AM on October 26, 2011


Fwiw, a job candidate to my department last year had a similar myname.com-style blog and website combo. I heard no good things about it (though I thought it was well-designed and informative), but I did hear that certain older, more conservative members of my faculty thought it was distasteful. Said candidate did not get even remotely close to the job.

Also, fwiw, a grad student in my department has a personal blog that is "hidden" (though everyone knows about it). I don't know anyone who thinks of it very highly, either, though it is also well-designed and apparently popular with blog fans.

Both of these are anecdotes, but in academia it only takes one person with power to shoot you down. I'd stay away from anything showy that connects to your real name in any way. Let your work speak for itself.
posted by AthenaPolias at 8:19 PM on October 26, 2011


So, given advice here, it's likely my personal blogging stuff is going to stay hidden, which is fine.

Fwiw, a job candidate to my department last year had a similar myname.com-style blog and website combo. I heard no good things about it (though I thought it was well-designed and informative), but I did hear that certain older, more conservative members of my faculty thought it was distasteful. Said candidate did not get even remotely close to the job.

Let me ask this: assuming I'm going to have some web presence (I'd like to control my top Google result) and I don't push this too hard during interviews - it's a small line on my CV with e-mail and phone number, and I don't go out of my way to bring it up - will the old fogies just sort of ignore it?
posted by Apropos of Something at 9:28 PM on October 26, 2011


I'm inclined to say yes, it will be ignored/unknown by old fogies in the scenario you mention. Again, this is only anecdotally, but I'm not aware of any googling of candidates done by our tenured faculty - or at least the more conservative, fogey-style faculty. The grad students and some junior faculty did google a few candidates (and found things like entirely unexciting Twitter accounts, etc), but that seemed to have no effect on the candidate's chances one way or another.
posted by AthenaPolias at 9:18 AM on October 30, 2011


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