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On the personal nature of blogs September 19, 2008

Posted by Raul in academic life.

At Green Drinks Vancouver this past Wednesday, people asked me what my blog was about. It was kind of hard to describe what I write about and to describe myself to an audience that (a) knows VERY little about blogs and (b) doesn’t seem to wrap their heads around the fact that I undertook a PhD but that I also do a gazillion other things.

I am not the only academic blogger out there. As a matter of fact, some of my best friends (who have PhDs) also have blogs. But apparently, this is not a pervasive phenomenon in Vancouver, and much less in Vancouver’s environmental community.

People seemed to be taken aback by the fact that I blog about myself. On the other hand, some of my friends wonder if my blog is becoming “too techie” and “too impersonal” and less about me.

I am a mixture of personas. Anybody who knows me, knows this. I can write serious stuff, I can do research, I can write consulting reports, I can write blog posts that are funny (some) or critical. The thing is, having a personal blog allows me to have a freedom and flexibility that few other outlets do.

However, for those of you who might be potential employers, fear not. I also know how to write about other things that are not me. See for example my public policy or water policy posts. I can harness the power of Web 2.0 to disseminate my research findings to a much broader audience.

My blogging has in no way hurt my academic career and I would seriously hope it won’t hurt my environmental consulting career. I hate it when people want to place me into defined, shallow boxes. I am not *just* a blogger. I am not *just* a researcher or an academic. I do lots more than what people think I do. Just give me the freedom to be creative and you’ll see great things. I’m not being overconfident, I’m just being honest. And this, as you can see, was a very personal post.



1. nomademoderne - September 19, 2008

Since Raul won’t come out and say it directly, all you loyal readers out there should know that today is his birthday!!!! So join me in wishing him a great day.

Happy Birthday brother!!!!!

Sorry to hijack your comments thread on this one, but there was no other way to do it.

2. Michael Kwan - September 19, 2008

Happy birthday from one multi-faceted blogger and writer to another!

In this day and age, it’s important to be multi-talented and versatile. Very few people stick to one “career” for their entire working lives anymore.

3. crunchycarpets - September 19, 2008

Have a happy birthday..and yeah..the whole…be one thing and one thing only…doesn’t work..we are human!!

4. Tanya (aka NetChick) - September 19, 2008

Happy birthday, honey! I hope you have a really, really awesome day….



5. gusgreeper - September 19, 2008

my blog has made it so i can’t get a job in the corporate core, not that i care, i knew that going in, it was something i gave a lot of thought to before i really got into the heavy stuff. when people ask me what my blog is about i say me and my cat but it centers on depression and therapy. 🙂 your blog is a great mix and you write all styles well which is obviously some of the reason your blog and you are seeing so much attention and success. 🙂


6. ddrucker - September 19, 2008

If nothing else, blogging also offers the chance to exercise all of those writer’s muscles. I’ll bet you are a much better writer because you blog.

Oh, and…

Happy Birthday! I’m glad our birthday’s come so close to each other, since I get to return the best wishes so soon.

Hope you have a great today today.

7. Matthew Collinge - September 19, 2008

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you!

8. Kerry Anne - September 19, 2008

Happy Birthday!

9. penmachine - September 19, 2008

Whenever people ask me what my blog is about, I simply say it’s about whatever interests me at the moment.

10. Rebecca - September 19, 2008

feliz cumpleaños !!

11. Beth - September 19, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dr. R. Which I’ve already said in email, Twitter & e-card form. But I’m saying it here too, ‘cuz you can’t say stuff like this enough! Have a happy, happy day!

12. luc - September 19, 2008

Happy birthday Hummingbird!

13. Thomasso - September 19, 2008

Raul is the Birthday boy today—Happy B-Day my friend!

We don’t need a fire permit for cake do we? 😛

14. Raul - September 25, 2008

@ all – thank you for making my birthday so special! 🙂

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