Tuesday, June 05, 2007

In The Words of Forrest

That is all that I have to say about that.

Explanation: I am entering my pre-tenure year for my University (academic) appointment. In light of recent events in the medical blogosphere, I have decided that a blog is just not worth the risk at this point in my career. Put simply: I would hate for something that I have written to be discovered and affect my tenure application. I'm fairly confident that I haven't written anything that would have such an effect but it's just not worth such a potentially awful outcome. I'll still be reading your blogs and may return post-tenure. Until then: it's been fun. Keep well.

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An update based on responses here, in email and in other unnamed places (and because I think it important that medical bloggers understand this a little more - as if Flea didn't teach us enough): Pieces of Mind has said it much better than I could ever hope to do here.

I have always followed her first rule, even before she wrote it (I'm not sure about her second rule simply because there can be so many arguments made about what 'being accountable' means).

For me the importance lies in these three quotes from her blog about the meaning/value of words:

Various bloggers have gotten into trouble or been fired - in some cases over the content of their blog, in other cases over the mere fact that they have a blog.

Words have power. They also can cause hurt and damage every bit as painful as sticks and stones.

Don't think for a New York minute that words are any less real because they happen to reside in the shifting, formless ether of the Internet. Don't think you won't be held responsible if your words somehow come back to bite you.

I will admit that I feel beaten into submission as I close my blog, but I am (potentially) avoiding the sticks and stones that will bury me and my career. That's the most important thing.


11 comments:

#1 Dinosaur said...

Equal parts understanding and disappointment.

All the best always.

(Feel free to keep in touch via email.)

Judy said...

I can understand your concern - but you will be missed. I hope it's a short road to tenure

adam said...

Go get 'em Dr. K! You will be missed.

...so does this mean that when you become tenured you can say whatever you want and NOT be fired?

Cathy said...

Dr. K., My heart is broken that you have done this. I hope that after a break you will come back. If you should one day start up a new blog please let me know..Best of luck to you!

Pieces of Mind said...

I'm disappointed :( but I understand.

All the best with your tenure application - I can't imagine you'd be anything other than an asset to your department.

I hope you'll check in from time to time so we know you haven't dropped from the face of the earth! ;)

Dr. K said...

Dr. Dino: I will certainly keep in touch. As for the disappointment: I know, because I am also feeling it. It was not a decision taken lightly, nor was it rushed. There were many discussions and many options explored in the household and in the end we couldn't get past the question that kept popping up: how would I feel if I found myself starting a blog post with a title of "Blogging Prevented My Tenure"?

Judy: thanks, I am going to miss my blog as well (I already do, actually).

Adam: well, sort of. Tenure will give me secured academic freedom but obviously there are limits to any fabulous concept.

Cathy: I have been quite startled at how sad this decision has made me as well. Amazingly startled, actually. I keep questioning whether there is a way to continue blogging about medicine/medical students while being absolutely sure that none of it will come back to bite me in the ass. Other than making everything up (and then I'm just writing fiction, which doesn't sit well with me) I haven't come up with a solution.

Pieces of mind: I certainly will check in with everyone's blogs. Thank you for the best wishes.

N=1 said...

There are a couple of firewalled group blogs that have started and which use a blogging code of ethics. if interested email me (addy on the about page of my blog) for access info. Otherwise, I'm just very sorry.

Someonetc said...

sorry to see you leave. but i understand. GL in your search for tenure. i am said to see you leave.

Midwife with a Knife said...

I'm very sorry you're leaving. You will be missed. I understand the factors that lead to your decision, although the selfish part of me hopes that you'll reconsider.

Farewell, best wishes, and good luck.

Artemis said...

You'll be missed!
A

Kendra (The Island Med Student) said...

I am very sad that I won't get to read your fabulous posts anymore, but I also completely understand your decision. We all make sacrifices at times to protect our best interests (hey, mine even involved dyeing my hair a "normal" color). Also, just because you're not blogging doesn't mean you should stop writing. Keep it up! As I'm sure you'll agree, blogging can be a great de-stresser, and it can sometimes force you to reflect on things that you might otherwise ignore. So don't stop writing. We'll all miss you!