( 6:48 AM )
Woke up this morning with a clear thought relative to my feelings as my unusually-late tenure review approaches (Tuesday, at 9 AM; I meet with my external reviewer this morning). I’m not “nervous” in the “Golly, what will those people decide?” way; I know the committee, and they’ll decide what they’ll decide, and that’s not a concern for me.
I do feel a sense of the gravity of the moment, though. I know a lot of folks for whom these days were fraught either with anxiety in anticipation, or with recrimination and pain in retrospect. This is a process by which plenty of people have been broken and, without disregard for their gifts and attainments, the justice of those tenure decisions is beside the point; the point is that a process designed for one end (ensuring that able scholars be freed from the threat of capricious retribution for unwelcome research and unpopular conclusions, to oversimplify) often enough produces an entirely different effect: steamrollering people.
So I do feel the momentousness of what’s happening these days, not out of a particular dread of the outcome in my own case (though only an arrant fool casually assumes a positive tenure recommendation), but out of respect for people whose lives have been wounded by ugly, or unfair, or biased, or vindictive, or just plain short-sighted tenure reviews.
Blogging, phase one:writing as though no one would ever read what you put there. (I certainly never figured David Weinberger would read the squib I wrote down the first time I opened a Blogger window).
Blogging, phase two: writing as though only the people whom you know might possibly read your blog will in fact do so.
Blogging, phase three: Become conscious of phases one and two, and realizing that someone else has surely already thought about this before.
Blogging, phase four: Beginning to grasp the fact that your words are out there, that anyone could read them, including that idiot you lambasted after he snubbed you in the planning meeting, or that exquisitely intelligent and beautiful woman about whom you’ve been blathering, day after day, like a hormone-soaked teenager.
Blogging, phase five: writing as though no one would ever read what you put there, or maybe would, but that’s not why you’re writing what you write. You’re just blogging.
(Consumer health advisory: This developmental scheme does not necessarily apply to anyone else in the world. My experience is not the measure of all things, and especially not of your experience.) (Leopold, this means you, not that you’ll ever read it.)
[Retrospective addition: ‘The Five Phases of Blogging’ actually got a little web traction when I first posted it, in olden days when there were many fewer things to find interesting on any given day on the web. Those were simpler times.]