According to the pseudonymous "Ivan Tribble" (oi, CoHE, enough already with the bad puns), blogging while job-hunting is not such a good plan. Indeed, Tribble also advises against blogging before job-hunting. Conceivably, it might even be unsafe to comment on a blog, let alone allow one's eyes to wander dangerously close to anything that bears a faint resemblance to same. Why?
A candidate's blog is more accessible to the search committee than most forms of scholarly output. It can be hard to lay your hands on an obscure journal or book chapter, but the applicant's blog comes up on any computer. Several members of our search committee found the sheer volume of blog entries daunting enough to quit after reading a few. Others persisted into what turned out, in some cases, to be the dank, dark depths of the blogger's tormented soul; in other cases, the far limits of techno-geekdom; and in one case, a cat better off left in the bag.
In other words, those adjuncts and graduate students who fear that blogging under their own names might bring down the righteous wrath of search committees are...correct. Mr. Tribble hastens to say that "we did not disqualify any applicants based purely on their blogs," but it appears that part of his committee regarded even the existence of a blog as a potential threat: "[s]everal 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." Hire a Victorianist, in other words, and you might find yourself saddled with a muckraker, willing to expose such nefarious shenanigans as Professor X's habit of sneaking into the department office to steal the highlighters. Such are the troubles one is likely to face when being hired by Tribble.
We could agree that human nature being what it is, bloggers in search of work should remain anonymous. But one could also argue that the search committee errs in taking a blog as somehow more "real" than the job interview. (After all, someone could come away from this blog thinking that all I ever write about is contemporary fiction--when, of course, my writing about contemporary fiction is almost entirely restricted to this blog, temporary Anne Boleyn diversion aside.) If the world is composed of Tribbles, what to do? Refrain from blogging; blog anonymously or pseudonymously (and point to this article the next time that someone accuses you of being cowardly); or restrain yourself from posting anything that you wouldn't say in an interview or campus visit. I await the first blog-related hiring lawsuit with great interest...