(part 1 here)
Question #2: What are your views on the controversy surrounding academics who blog (ie, hiring committees that look askance at it, perceptions that blogging is taking time away from "legitimate" scholarship, etc)?
The issues surrounding hiring committees using information from blogs in their evaluation of a candidate are more complicated than what I have time to answer.
But: I think hiring committees are short-sighted if they take the existence of a blog per se as a strike against a candidate. Given two candidates who seemed otherwise equal but one had a blog and one didn't, I would go with the person with a blog. I think having a blog and reading blogs is a good indicator of being intellectually alive and wanting to remain so. The latter is especially important in sociology, as there are so many promising sociologists whose curiosity is dead by the time they are five years out of graduate school. Blogging is also a good indicator of being able to write and being eager to share ideas, which are attributes sociology departments should value.
As for blogs taking time away from "legitimate" scholarship, I understand that there are sociologists who have monomaniacal devotion to their craft to the exclusion of all else. However: many sociologists pursue hobbies, watch television, practice religion, engage in extensive personal grooming rituals, or have kids they refuse to neglect. I have little patience for anyone who does any of these things and thinks me derelict for the time I spend blogging. I have much enthusiasm for my work and spend much time at it, but I am not going to forgo all other things I enjoy for the sake of sociology.