A blogging anniversary is typically a happy event: an opportunity to celebrate all the things you’ve shared with the world in the previous year, the connections you’ve made with your far-flung readers, and the new skills and knowledge you’ve gained. For food scholar Emily Contois, the sixth blogiversary was a bittersweet one.
As she recounts in a recent post, blogging has been instrumental to her work as an emerging academic.
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Blogging builds an audience of readers, collaborators, friends and fans, mentors and mentees. Blogging also builds bridges. Blogging helps my writing, especially if and when I feel stuck. It has opened doors I didn’t even know to knock. And it’s been fun, year after year.
Earlier this summer, an article Emily published in a media studies journal has been met with intensive trolling and harassment on her various online accounts — which made her reevaluate her visible web presence.
This year, however, I have some different things to reflect on.
What does it mean to be a public scholar, to blog, and to share my work, perspective, and life, after being trolled quite unpleasantly, for weeks?
While the trolling Emily Contois experienced took place elsewhere on the web, if you ever encounter unwanted comments on your blog, consider these options.
Emily has expanded on the experience of being the victim of trolling at Nursing Clio, another blog she contributes to. On her own blog, she goes on to explain why she came out of this experience more determined than ever not to let others silence her.
Seeing this happen to me has made some fellow scholars and friends even more hesitant to start blogging. To that I say, no. Now is the time more than ever to be public scholars and to be scholars in public.
Sure, part of me is utterly heartbroken that I’m starting my academic career at a time when my professional field is widely misunderstood, attacked, and maligned. But for me that’s all the more reason to stand up for what and who I believe in, to weather the storm(s)—(with help and support!), to not stay silent, and to be a public scholar with all the grace, resilience, and empathy I can muster.
Have you ever faced similar — or other — challenges while blogging and sharing your thoughts online? How did you respond, and has your online presence changed as a result? Leave a comment below and join the conversation.