Were I giving advice to a grad student at the moment, I would advice them TO blog. A good, well done, and engaging blog will likely connect that grad student to their peers, both other emerging scholars and more established academics in their field(s) of interest.
By providing a service online, and by mastering new forms of technology and communication the grad student only enhances, not diminishes their own job prospects and possibilities.
Why do I say this when, as this article points out, there are counterexamples?
A few examples:
- Ester Hargatai and others at Crooked Timber (http://www.crookedtimber.com) a fantastic online community and resource, and clearly a source of engagement and support for all who are contributing, and one which helps all of them raise the profile of their work and research.
- Mary Anne Mohanraj. A very good friend of mine, she has been keeping an online journal since 1994 (yes well before "blogging" ), her active readership there has helped her build up an audience for her writing, which in turn led to successful editing jobs for a number of books, some smaller releases of her works, and eventually to a 2 book deal with Harper Collins for two books, one of which her dissertation just was released in hardcover this month. Her journal and readership helped her as she wrote her disertation and books, and in her job search (successful) - she has been teaching at Vermont college and is about to teach here in Chicago at Roosevelt University (see http://www.mamohanraj.com) - but also a google search for Mary Anne turns her up first.
I am a conference organizer. When I went lookig for speakers and presentors, I looked online. Those academics with minimal to no web presense were significently less likely to get an invitation from me to present than those who have an active online engagement.