Field of Science

Can blogging get you in hot water?

On several occasions readers and others have asked, "Phytophactor, why blog under a pseudonym?" Why never mention the name of your state (Lincolnland) or institution directly? Do you abuse the public trust by using state resources to blog? Well, at first the use of a pseudonym was simply because it amused the Phactor to do so after labeling himself a plant pundit. Writing in the third person and never directly naming dopey administrators or the institution was part of the fun; others just might wonder if that could be their dean being so aptly described. And no, the time and resources are my own, at least by my accounting. But it is no easy matter to decide where an academic's job ends and his personal life begins. After all part of the service component of our jobs, part of our educational charge, is outreach, educating the public, and to a great extent this blog helps fulfill that role, except it's not confined to just our state. Restricting email to only university business is a way more difficult thing to figure out, and the Phactor has his own email, but still friends and relatives email me at work because the email address has been mine for over 20 years going back to times when there was no other internet access around. Nothing from my official life connects to this blog, and when it comes to time, when you average over 50 hrs a week working, and the state says we have a 37.5 hr work week, a few minutes used during the day now and again doesn't come close to offsetting the unpaid overtime worked. Who's getting shorted? But given the potential for trouble and entanglements, it's probably a good idea to have remained a pseudonym. Look at the trouble a U. Wisconsin historian is having for having the temerity to use his professional expertise to look at the current political situation in their state. It's quite a blog.

No comments: