Someone recently asked me via email about the timestamps on my posts, questioning how I get away with blogging on traditionally defined work time. That reply, edited for anonymity and public consumption, included:
We have a culture of working 40-50 hour weeks, usually 8ish to 5ish, but that varies by individual and day. So that’s what I’ve been accustomed to, prior to becoming Director — a day that I set myself, based on inclination and workload. I used to work 10-7 a lot. And if I spent an hour blogging during the day, I’d just work a bit later to get the work done — all that matters is that the work get done, not when it gets done.
Blogging, in my eyes, is professional activity. Academic faculty have an obligation to publish, research, and otherwise contribute to the scholarly communication world of their individual field, so my presence, words, and speaking engagements — all linked inextricably to my blog — are professional and necessary. And therefore there is no conflict between doing those things on work time and having it be “work time”. And while I’m no longer academic faculty, I hold myself to those standards, because I run an academic unit, and should be engaged in the work that our faculty are engaged in. It’s good for me, and it’s proven to be good for the professional community.
There’s also the added bonus that sometimes sitting down and writing about the thing chasing around my head for 30 minutes clears my mind to then spend two hours focused on the task I really should be tackling. It’s a professional shot of espresso.
What I didn’t think to say at the time is that no one sees the timestamps on my working hours. I worked about 12 hours this weekend, at home, on various documents, presentations, and memos that I have in the hopper, and some days I work super-late and others I leave when my motivation evaporates. I chose a white-collar and academic profession in part because I hated punching a clock — I’m productive when I’m productive, and a job that’s a good fit for me will honor that. This one does. I do what I must to get the job done, timestamps or no timestamps.
All of those good and valid arguments aside, and acknowledging that some posts do get written during the traditional workday hours, the timestamps are often lies. I write a bunch of things in advance, and schedule them for publication on a staggered schedule that allows them to publish during workdays when librarians are most likely to see them. I don’t engage in a lot of self-publicity, but I will admit to that much.
tl;dr: Blogging is scholarship that cleanses the mental palate, and my timestamps are lies, just like the cake.