Job seekers who are also bloggers may have a tough road ahead, if our committee's experience is any indication.
You may think your blog is a harmless outlet. You may use the faulty logic of the blogger, "Oh, no one will see it anyway." Don't count on it. Even if you take your blog offline while job applications are active, Google and other search engines store cached data of their prior contents. So that cranky rant might still turn up.
The content of the blog may be less worrisome than the fact of the blog itself. Several committee members expressed concern that a blogger who joined our staff might air departmental dirty laundry (real or imagined) on the cyber clothesline for the world to see. Past good behavior is no guarantee against future lapses of professional decorum.
Personally, I try not to rant, bitch, moan, talk trash, or get personal on "Ralph." And I try to stay pretty much within the broad topics I've established herein, while still maintaining enough variety to keep myself, my family, and my friends, both lay and professional, interested.
But I must admit that I didn't think about blogging being a barrier to future employment. I think it's a pity that the committee described in the article was suspicious of blogging as such. However, all of us should probably remind ourselves that the dashed-off tripe we ladle into the bitstream is going to be cached and available for reading for a long time. "Every idle word ..." (There's a spiritual lesson here, too.)
Maybe this issue can be taken up at the Biblioblogging session in November at Philadelphia. I'd be interested in hearing what others think in the meantime, especially those with faculty positions. If you were on a search committee, would you check a candidate's blog? If you did, what would you look for?
UPDATE (7/10): Thanks for all your comments, although nobody answered my question.
AKMA responds to the same article here, and Ann Althouse here, and she links to this Metafilter discussion. She also says, "But, for me, blogging is so phenomenally satisfying that I would find the possible career advancement sacrifices worth it." Wow. Spoken like a woman with tenure and an endowed chair.
I suppose the moral of the story is this: If you want to know if a critique of blogging is valid or not, don't ask bloggers.