Ivan, the terrible Tribble, has apparently managed to create his very own academic urban legend--or so says Rebecca Goetz, based on a recent experience at Harvard. (Then again, tribbles do multiply with astonishing rapidity.) It's amazing how quickly a few scattered anecdotes can transform themselves into supposedly hard "facts." It will probably be as difficult to eradicate the "dangers of blogging" meme as it is has been to eradicate the "two books for tenure" meme--even though we actually have some statistics for the latter.*
*--According to Robert Townsend's survey of 441 history departments, 37.7% of all campuses (both research and non-) required a book, while 1.4% required a second book. 59.5% said a book would help; 90% said a second book would help. Note that over 60% of all campuses polled had no book requirement whatsoever. See Robert Townsend, "A Survey of Tenure Practices in History: Departments Indicate Books Are Key and Success Rates for Tenure High," Perspectives 42.2 (Feb. 2004): 5-8. I discussed this essay--and the academic urban legend--twice last year.