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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

C.V. Stalking, or Career Due Diligence?

Okay, so sometimes, I spend hours a considerable amount of time looking at other prawfs' official webpages.   And I don't think I'm the only one.  Someone I met at SEALS (whose name rhymes with Man and who invited me to blog here) called this "career due diligence."  He was kidding, but only a little.

Often, when I look at others' webpages, I feel pretty inadequate.  But then I go back for more the next day.  And the day after that.  Why?

Is there something to be gained from this activity?  Do I do it (or does "your friend" do it) because I crave a sense of community?  In that way, is it similar to the inexplicable urge to spend hours a few minutes a day on Facebook?  Does the fact that I may have been inspired, as a result of such stalking, to change the format of my C.V.,  or to add to it a few more lines of content (Download C.V..doc ) outweigh the guilt(y pleasure) I feel when stalking?  Do you stalk?  Why do we?

Posted by Liz Glazer on August 22, 2007 at 08:53 AM | Permalink


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anon lawprof, If I could, I'd update my C.V. everyday. I'd feel bad asking the IT folks at Hofstra to upload that updated C.V. to my official webpage, but that's basically the only reason for any lag in my C.V., ever. Whether this makes me vain or meticulous I'm not sure; I think it just means I don't want to forget what I've done, so I throw it into the document when I'm thinking about it. ;)

anonymous lawprof, Interesting place to take the discussion; thanks. One of the reasons I've spent considerable time on social networking sites lately is I've been researching them for a piece I'm writing on expressive association. The piece actually contains a link to my Facebook and MySpace profiles in its first footnote. So I actually want students (i.e., the law students to whom I submit the piece) to "cyber snoop" my online profiles. One of the reasons I wanted to include the profiles in the piece was that I know how much students seem to enjoy the act of cyber snooping their teachers. However, before reviving my online identity for this piece, I had deleted it for fear of students' tendency to cyber snoop.

To address your more practical question - what to do when a current student requests to be your friend - I think you did the right thing. Were I not on these sites for research purposes, I'd do the same thing.

Posted by: Liz Glazer | Aug 24, 2007 7:53:20 AM

This is a slightly different point, but how many of us consider the fact that our students are cyber snooping more than just our CV's? Should it bother us that our students almost certainly see our Facebook, MySpace, or (yikes) Match profiles? And what does a law prof do when a student makes contact through these social networks?

I have received friend requests from former students and accepted. Only recently did I receive a request from a current student, which I politely (I hope?) declined.

Posted by: anonymous prof | Aug 23, 2007 8:02:27 AM

Sort of guilty, but not to the "spending hours" degree.

A related question is how often people update their own publicly posted CVs. I've seen CVs that haven't been updated in 5 years; I've also seen CVs that include stuff that happened, like, yesterday. You can tell a lot about people's vanity (or compulsiveness, or meticulousness) by looking at how up-to-date their CVs are.

Posted by: anon lawprof | Aug 22, 2007 8:50:28 PM

Guilty as charged?

Posted by: Liz Glazer | Aug 22, 2007 7:06:06 PM

People read other people's cv's because we like to compare ourselves to others. Is there really another explanation? So, an unusually high proclivity for cv-stalking (love the term, by the way!) indicates higher competitiveness, or else higher envy, or perhaps higher insecurity. As in "what did this guy do to get there?" -- or, more generally, "what does it take to get there?"

Posted by: anon lawprof | Aug 22, 2007 5:49:58 PM

Having checked out your stats, I can't imagine how anyone could use your C.V. against you. People can be mean, and that's certainly not what I was trying to channel in my post. I intended only to highlight this aspect of the law professor "social network," to the extent it's used for research purposes only.

Posted by: Liz Glazer | Aug 22, 2007 5:15:22 PM

Thanks, Liz. Various back channel emails tell me that many/most professors have their own stories about being stalked electronically.

As for the C.V. business: it's hard to imagine the time without being able to find people's C.V.'s in a second. I love it; I do it a lot. But when someone posted my C.V. in their (hositle) website.... Well, that brings us full circle.

Posted by: RCinProv | Aug 22, 2007 4:27:04 PM

RCinProv, I changed the post's title to C.V.-stalking, which I hope is less offensive. I stole that name from Dan's 10:26 post.

Posted by: Liz Glazer | Aug 22, 2007 11:00:32 AM

RCinProv is right. Let's call it CV-surfing, which has a nice alliteration.

Posted by: Dan | Aug 22, 2007 10:58:55 AM

Please give this activity another name. For anyone who has actually been stalked on the Internet, the experience is awful and invasive. I gather you are not contacting these poeple, and you certainly are not doing it over and over in a harassing fashion. THAT is stalking. And it should not be compared with innocent forms of surfing. Please.

Posted by: RCinProv | Aug 22, 2007 10:45:06 AM

I think that Dan has it exactly right. I don't think that this is necessarily unhealthy, unless it gets excessive - like my email checking.

Posted by: Jeff Yates | Aug 22, 2007 10:32:35 AM

I think part of it is that when not teaching, we're supposed to be writing and writing is often a monastic experience. CV-stalking is a way of weakly connecting to other people when you need a one-minute break from the grind. It can also have the benefit of helping you figure out who's working on what, which I suspect can have professional advantages--creating research networks, realizing that someone has already written up that piece you were putting off...
And of course, if you're the kind of person who likes to meddle and make shidduchs, as my wife and I do, cv-stalking can give you a slightly better sense of the available market...especially in conjunction with facebook/friendster profiles.

Posted by: Dan | Aug 22, 2007 10:26:59 AM

I think that we stalk in order to find out something that the person hasn't, or wouldn't, tell us about themselves. The irony is that all we find out is the nonsense that people hope to disseminate about themselves, ie what they post on facebook. Really? You enjoy snowboarding??

Posted by: Rachel | Aug 22, 2007 9:51:58 AM

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