in defense of shameless self-promotion

To be honest, much of this blog is just a shameless exercise in self-promotion. But still, there remains the question – why self-promote at all? Should you be a shameless self-promoter?

First, start with the question – do I need promotion, especially shameless self-promotion? Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. Some of us are just relaxed Dude-like entities, content to admire our fine Persian carpet and hang out with our bowling buddies. We are happy in a zen like state of being and don’t need the trappings of high society. If you are an academic, you aren’t the Dude. You’re probably an uptight person whose obsesses over the promotion and tenure committee. You want attention. You live and die off of citations.

If you need promotion, why not rely on regular promotion? For most of us, regular promotion doesn’t work terribly well. The number of people who can push your cookie is small and they only focus their efforts on a few select individuals. For every person who earns the graces of the gods, there are five or ten folks who are pretty darn good who get little attention and probably deserve more. And if you do work that is out of fashion, against the winds of the day, or don’t have the right last name, then the gods will help you even less, if not hinder you.

So, what’s left? As Art Stinchcombe once allegedly said to a student, if you want to be famous in the academy, either be a genius or use the photocopier. Since I’m not a genius, I think I’ll need to use that photocopier.*

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street

* Super cool self-promotion coming up!! I have news!!


Written by fabiorojas

September 8, 2016 at 12:07 am

2 Responses

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  1. Self-promotion eventually backfires. The trick is knowing at what point it backfires, and stopping just short of that. The threshold probably varies by the audience and cultural context.

    Also, it’s pretty well established in research lit that some status groups can get away with more self-promotion than others before the “god, what an obnoxious git / pushy broad” reaction kicks in.



    September 8, 2016 at 11:08 am

  2. Anon2; Yes, there are differences in rate to return on self-promotion but that’s not relevant for most people. The issue whether you should do it at all. Most folks don’t post papers on SSRCN,socarXiv, or arXiv. Most don’t tell colleagues about new papers, etc. I am shocked at how little self promotion most sociologists do. I think they should do more.


    Fabio Rojas

    September 8, 2016 at 5:11 pm

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