Blogging Archaeology #BlogArch – All of the Responses to the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Posted on January 5, 2014

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Another great response to the Blogging Archaeology blog carnival, 56 (now 59) responses, some of them new to the carnival! If you don’t know what Blogging Archaeology is click on this link. Even though this post is the summation of what was said in the last month it is not too late to join in. Anyone can join at any time and you can blog about the previous months questions too, I will add them to the end here. For November (see responses here) we had 58 responses to begin with but now that is up to 72 so feel free to join in.

First, apologies if I missed anyone. I went through links, comments, emails, and tweets to try and find everyone but I might have missed one or two. If I did, it was not on purpose, just let me know and I will add you.

December’s question was the good, the bad, and the ugly of blogging. The responses in blog title alphabetical order-

Sam at (un)free archaeology takes his post as a chance to strike back against some of the ugly he sees in and archaeology and offers his blog up as whistleblowing platform-

“It isn’t shocking, but it is still saddening to find expert judgement being silenced, public debate being undermined, and socially-harmful public policy being protected in relatively free places as well as in relatively unfree places. And (at least some) state employees(1) in the UK are contractually prohibited from public opposition to the aims or policies of their institution and its officials, even if it is a wholly professional protest against the closure of public institutions, inadequate provision of legally-required services, or the replacement of professional workers with volunteers.

Spleen-venting and whistle-blowing

If you have experienced or witnessed, or have evidence of, blacklisting or other political subversion of the profession (whether it’s in Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, Italy or elsewhere), please contact me. I promise you absolute confidentiality; I promise you that I will reveal as much as I can of the problem without revealing who you are or otherwise leaving you vulnerable to punishment for speaking out.”

Scott, at A Bone to Pick, gives us an awesome graphic-

and tells us how blogging has helped him change attitudes about Çatalhöyük-

Some archaeologists I’ve met, most of whom have never visited the site or bothered to read any of the current literature, are convinced that we don’t practice science at Çatal and that Ian Hodder and his “post-processual” archaeological theories have generated very little in the way of hard data. By writing about the bioarchaeological research we’re conducting, however, I hope that in my own small way I can convince people that we do, in fact, conduct science at Çatalhöyük and that, in conjunction with the excavators and the other specialist labs, we’ve produced an enormous quantity of empirical data which is (as much as possible) available and open to interpretation by other researchers and members of the public.”

A Stitch in Time tells us about a stack of good things about blogging-

“There’s a stack of things that I like about my blogging. It adds a little element of structure to my day (seldom a bad thing for a freelancer). It keeps me writing, and practising my English (never bad for a second language). I can try to be funny, share some personal things that I am excited about and that I want to get out into the world, help other folks spread the word about events, or blogs, or CfPs.”

Ethan shares his experience standing up to bully bloggers-

 “Conversely, I think that I have really only had one bad or ugly experience with blogging, and that is something which occurred back in June 2012. I used my blog to counter the libellous, nonsensical smears made against Pagan studies scholar and archaeologist Caroline J. Tully (of the Necropolis Now blog) by a pseudonymous and sanctimonious Pagan blogger. They in turn took to their own blog to have a moan about me, accusing me of being “self righteous”, which I felt to be a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. Both their attacks on myself and Ms. Tully were absolute tosh and really rather vindicative, so while it was not an enjoyable experience dealing with them, I’m still really glad that I stood up against that particular bully blogger. Lies and smears really should be countered.”
Anthroslug shares some examples of things that are not good or bad-
 “Although not part of Doug’s question, there is one other element that I want to touch on briefly, and this is the stuff that’s not really good or bad…just kind of there. I have consistently found these things amusing, but have never considered them to be either a boon or a curse.”

“For example, how do I and these bloggers contend with the descendant communities who might find the representation and discussion of such human remains offensive or disrespectful? What about those who object to the discussion of death on ethical grounds or with regard to ‘taste’ and sensitivities?

So, do we risk becoming becoming too insensitive to the sensitivities of our topic? What constitutes a ‘ghoulish’ blog entry? How ugly, visceral, and ‘in your face’ should we make our discussions in mortuary archaeology in the blogging arena? What measures should we make to avoid too ugly/insensitive/grotesque a portrayal of death, burial and commemoration in the human past through our text and visuals?”

Archaeologik keeps it short-

“Archaeologists have to leave their beloved ivory tower.”

Archaeology and Material Culture looks at the good and bad of archaeology blogging through the lens of a recent house committee meeting-

“The House committee’s picture of science underscores the need to produce reflective, rigorous, public archaeological discourses without turning the blogosphere into a free-for-all that thinly conceals ideological self-interests.”

Archaeology Fantasies shares what irks her about attitudes towards blogging-

“The Ugly part isn’t so ugly really. It is, however, something that irks me. The reactions I get when I mention my blog are mot always good. Mention pseudoarchaeology to some archaeologists, and you’ll be lucky to even get a funny grin. It makes it difficult to defend ‘mainstream’ archaeology to those who buy into pseudoarchaeology, when their main complaint is basically that academia is rude to them when they ask questions. People want information, and they’ll take it from wherever they can get it. Often not knowing how to spot bad sources.”

Robert talks about a downside that many others have mentioned-

“The biggest downside is that blogging can be a real time suck.  I take the writing and content pretty seriously – at least from my perspective.  Most posts go through at least 3 or 4 major drafts and then a few more minor ones.  Although I like to think that the more substantive posts I write from scratch take me about 3 hours – it’s probably closer to 4 or 5 from the very start to pushing the publish button.  If I am publishing a guest post, an interview with someone else, or something short and directed like this post, I have maybe 2 hours invested in each post.”

ArchaeoVideo tells us how blogging helps with reflecting on what we do-

“Your blog is the home of your thoughts and a window of your activities. For me blogging is the only moment of my archaeological life in which I spend time thinking about what I do.”

Artefactual raises the idea of a blog as a repository of our own ideas-

“Just as it’s easy to browse posts in the blogs that I follow, it’s easy to browse my own posts.   Flicking through my posts is a convenient way to review progress, to remind myself what’s left undone, or where I might want to go next.   I don’t have to have everything swimming round in my head, or photos inaccessibly buried in an external hard-drive.”

Bodies and Academia points out a good that most of us agree with-

“Furthermore, one of the best things about blogging has been the discovery of fellow bloggers- I got to know some pretty awesome research and posts from several colleagues in the field, which I would have probably never come across otherwise (you can find in my Blogroll some of them).”

Bone Broke brings up a concern that some bloggers have-

“That being said, graduate students in all programs, no matter the discipline, are familiar with the unspoken directive not to disrupt the status quo. Being Lewis Binford was all very well and good in the early 1960s, when academic jobs proliferated like an experimental colony of Drosophila, but the restrictions of the contemporary job market (see Higher Education, Chronicle of) necessitate a greater degree of concern for one’s public profile. I recently met a well-established, prestigious archaeologist who mentioned off-handedly that he got his first tenure-track position at UCLA….at age 26. That golden age of professional opportunities has clearly gone the way of the dodo. Anymore there’s a fine line between publicity and notoriety, and as a graduate student you have to strive to avoid the latter.”

Bones Don’t Lie shares some of the awesomeness that comes from blogging-

“Other Good: There have been some other cool things that have come out of blogging for Bones Don’t Lie. I was contacted by the TV Show ‘Bones’ to give advice about whether a specific bone process can naturally occur (won’t give it away in case it is used in an episode). I’ve been asked to attend conferences based on people who found the blog, and I’ve consulted on books for people who need advice on archaeology or bone-related topics. Finally, I get quite a number of early stage students and undergraduates who want advice on becoming an archaeologist, and I love talking to them about pursuing this field. I am always happy to share knowledge and talk about mortuary and bioarchaeology- never be shy about contacting me!”

Castles and Coprolites brings up a fun aspect that many of us enjoy with blogging-

“Aside from the pleasure of simply writing, it’s also great fun looking at my viewer statistics. It is quite satisfying to see where my audience comes from. Sometimes I can guess who it is, for example when my relatives in Oregon have been reading, and I also get a lot of views from Edinburgh, York and Reading, the three places where I have worked, which I assume is from friends and colleagues who find my blog posts when I link to them on Facebook. And then there are the totally random views – Malaysia, South Korea, the Dominican Republic! Keywords people have searched for are also great fun – one of the funniest being Who is the Queen of Coprolites? Let’s just hope they weren’t actually searching for me with that one.”

Russell talks about how blogging equals practice-

“Over time, I refined my writing abilities enough that, even now, I can look back at several of my papers and, surprisingly, even my thesis without cringing too badly. Since graduating, however, I have been writing more technical reports, guides, and grant proposals. I find these different kinds of writing valuable in their own right, but they exercise a different skill set than used for more free form or academic writing. Through my blog, I have been able to write short posts on both broader topics in digital archaeology, as well as technical reviews. I’m not completely happy with the quality of my blog writing so far, but I think it’s improving and the skills I practice will help me as I write more on my research in the future and experiment with archaeology storytelling in other media. “

Dig This Feature tells the ugly of blogging with tumblr-

“As for the ugly?  Anyone who is on tumblr knows that tumblr is full of passionate people who are more than willing to get on their soapbox and yell at you for being insensitive or just wrong.  I’ve never had this happen to me, and I’ve seen enough posts with thousands of unkind notes to be thankful that it never has.  Sometimes this is entirely justified; there have been a couple of extremely factually inaccurate/wholly insensitive posts I’ve seen floating around that need to be corrected, but sometimes you have people getting pretty nasty over people’s opinions about historical figures, for example, and you have to wonder just how productive that conversation really is. “

Henry, with a bit of humor, explains the good and bad of past communication and how blogs have changed that-

“It wasn’t all that long ago that the only avenue to broadcasting available to the common man involved wearing a short cape, a side-cocked bi-corn hat, ringing a bell and bellowing a spittle flecked, inchoate, semi-glossolalic message, repeatedly, at an inordinate volume, to a startled public in the town square.”

Elfshot shares how sometimes an innocent post can turn ugly-

 “However, from a blogging point of view, my pick for ugliest post is one that I made showing off a new business card design a little over a year ago.  The reason that I find it so ugly is that it has a trail of business card spam hanging off the end of it that continues to fester and drip longer.  At first I deleted the spam comments from that post, as I still do from all other posts, but now I just leave them there.  My hope is that the dangling trail of unsolicited sales pitches will attract spammers from posting elsewhere, like hanging one of those ugly amber sticky strips of flypaper up to catch flies.”

Field of Work provides us with another great image-

and how blogging helped her get a job-

“Nothing too bad happened to me since starting my blog under a year ago (*knocks on wood*). In fact, blogging helped get me a job as a technical writer in my field (hooray!).”

Francis joins the carnival and lays down the rules of being a good blogger-

“Rule One: avoid clever titles, unless they’re funny. Rule Two: stick to the point. Rule Three:  eschew obfuscation (avoid lack of clarity). Rule Four: don’t patronise with obvious explanations. Rule Five: don’t lay down the law. Follow these rules and you’ll be a good blogger; ignore them and you’ll become a Professor before you’re thirty.”

Girl with a Trowel gives a shout out to Day of Archaeology and the need for archaeologists to be more aware of what is going on-

“Work seem blissfully ignorant of social media in general, which I actually think is a pity – I’ve tried to drum up interest for things like the Day of Archaeology, or using blogs as teaching tools, to be largely met with bemused looks. I know my students have found this by googling me, and that’s kinda cool, even if it contributes to the feeling of the need for self-editing mentioned above.”

Going Public explains how the ugly turns into the good-

“The ugliest thing about our blog has been out own learning curb. How do we keep things engaging? How often should we post? And how do we make Blogger put the pictures where we want them?! (The secret as I’ve come to realize it is only composing in the Blogger window itself – no copying and pasting!) I think everyone who’s blogged for us has learned a little something about technology and outreach in the process. Somehow the ugly keeps becoming a part of the good in the end… and so we blog on!”

Heritage Action tells us about a very horrible problem they have run into-

“No contest on this one. It’s a hole that to an extent we’ve dug for ourselves (pun intended) with our stance on the erosion of the archaeological resource by metal detectorists. In a word, Thugwits. In two words, Thugwits and Trolls. Suffice to say that in the past, due to personal details of our members’ addresses and phone numbers having been posted on detectorist’s forums, our members have been subjected to verbal abuse and physical threats, to the extent that the police have had to become involved on more than one occasion.”

History Echos shares how going viral can change how you write-

“The BAD. Uh Oh. One of my posts hit reddit. I suddenly went from a few people reading the post to a lot of people reading. For some perhaps this is not unusual. For me, it was a game changer. I became aware of my ego and it became tied to my blog. I wanted to write, write as best I could and be lucky enough to gain readers.  I went from having an opinion to overthinking. Will people find this interesting? Is my tone good? What is my blog’s overall ‘brand’? I could go on. I am still trying to figure out my blog’s look, tone, and topics. I apologize for the construction. It will probably continue to undergo small and perhaps large transformations. As much as we may want to be islands of independence, most of us enjoy approval. It is inevitable, self-doubt is something we all face. This and other factors have contributed to writers block. Keeping up with a blog with or without self-doubt is an accomplishment.”

Hazelnut Relations might have been involved in the highest blogging experience yet-

“In 2011 we decided to try blogging from the field (go and have a look, there are some great articles and photos, but do go all the way back to the beginning for the posts from the field!) This was not always easy, as we often camped for days on end in the high Alps at 2400 masl, far beyond any internet or mobile phone reception. Still, it worked! The blog was set up by project leader Th. Reitmaier and me, but we encouraged the students and other team members to contribute.”

Paige raises a key factor in why many people blog-

“Every academic is looking for increased exposure for their work, research, interests, etc. Archaeological blogging is a great way to bring attention to topics that we bloggers think of as attention-worthy! I for one, know that the digital copy of my thesis (Romanticism and Ruralism) has gotten far more reads than the paper copy ever did – and as a shamelessly-self-promoting historian, that makes me very happy.”

jmmcdowell is not your typical archaeology blogger in that she is an archaeologist who blogs mainly for her writing which adds a pretty unique twist to her answers-

“That’s a bit tough for someone like me, who hopes to gain an audience for the fiction I’m writing. Potential agents, editors, and publishers want demand to see that social media presence, even from previously unpublished writers. I’ve likened that to bands needing an established audience before they can even book their first gigs.”

Jonathan tackles the questions from a GIS perspective-

“The good part for my blogging is that I am reading a lot more about GIS and it is keeping me up to date on trends and emerging technology. I am also writing a lot more than I have in the last few years. Keeping my writing skill active is pretty important to me. I have definitely shown progress on it. It used to take me hours to get my post ‘just right’ and these days I can bust adequate ones while drinking my coffee. I wrote one the other day on my phone while at a layover. I also read a lot of blogs. I compare how they write. I keep up on CRM from the people I know in the industry. I see how the general opinion of CRM is changing.”

Kerry gives us an ugly story about blogging she recently came across-

“The ugly: I read an article today that was written by a fellow University of Liverpool PhD student.  She had regularly updated her blog with research until she discovered an online tabloid had stolen a huge amount of her work and advertised it as their own!  I think this is shocking and shameful.  She has tried to get in contact with the tabloid about this issue but has received no response.  She has since closed her blog.”

I am glad David brings up some of the issues bloggers in certain subjects face-

“Blogging about the antiquities market raises certain uncomfortable questions. A paid Washington lobbyist enjoys making dismissive comments about ‘archaeo-bloggers’ (even when the archaeologists making the comments can be in tenured university posts). Sensitivities over topics such as Heritage Crime in the UK and the silence from some who record the portable finds shows that blogging can create tensions.”

Campus Archaeology brings home the point that you can learn from your audience too-

“Blogging also allows us to learn from our community. Sometimes we find things on campus and have no idea what they are. Two summers ago, we were called out to check out an artifact found by Beaumont Tower. It was a circular piece of concrete with a horseshoe in it. While we still don’t know quite what it is, we had some fantastic discussions about what it could possibly be, how it was created and who many have made it.”

I think Outlandish Knight presents a great example of how blogs can be a great place to add more details to a media story-

“Often the message and information provided by the press (even though usually with the best of intentions) tends to be slightly different from what we’ve actually said. There is also an understandable tendency by the media to simplify the complexity of the site (and I don’t mean outrageous dumbing down- although that has happened- simply the inevitable ironing out of the uncertainties and complexities when a radio report has to be edited down to 90 seconds). Also, often a period of time has passed since the initial interview and the final broadcast meaning our understandings have changed. The blog is useful for bringing those who find their way to it a more detailed, nuanced and up to date overview of the site.”

Passim in Passing adds to the idea that blogs add more to story, than with 140 characters-

“But I think more importantly, blogging offers a longform elaboration of the casual conversations and offhand interests that the 140 character world doesn’t really give you a chance to get into. For instance, I am pretty good at working up a #twitterstorm rage. I’ve had lots of social media chats with friends and strangers about things that seriously, epically get my metaphorical goat (looking at you, #aquaticape! also, druid in-fighting). But here’s the thing about an insta-rage: you sound like a total jerk. Seriously. That rage needs context.”

Paul talks about how too much of a good thing can be bad-

“The second point is that several bloggers taking part in this Carnival have mentioned problems with “finding material”. That is not a problem that affects the particular areas I write about, there is always something going on in and around the antiquities market, there is no shortage of disturbing things written by artefact hunters, dealers and collectors on their forums which must provoke comment. But this is not necessarily really a “good” thing, sometimes there is far too much to write about and attempt a balanced coverage.”

Lucy raises some concerns about the direction blogging can some times go-

“And ugly? Moving on from Robin Thicke at Christmas, I want to get serious for a minute here. I am increasingly concerned about people using blogs as a medium for what my Nannie would have called plain old boasting. Yes, showcase your skills, Yes, it’s great that you can do x or y, or have x or y. But that’s not what a conversation should be about. Imagine how sick of you your friends would be if all you did was blather on about your publications, or how great your viva went, or how fantastic your new research project is. That shouldn’t mean doom and gloom- genuine joy is a real part of life, and it’s great to share. But after I wrote about my new job, in the interview for which the blog was mentioned, I had a little smug guilt trip. That’s not what I’m about, showing off and being self-centred and boasty. At least, I hope it’s not. Either way, I don’t think blogging works without honesty- about our profession, about archaeology, about the past, about ourselves.”

Kristina describes blogging without regard to tenure-

“What if my post on crucifixion is deemed controversial? Or my criticisms of maternity leave in this country irritate my university administration? I try to use social media as a professional, but I also blog without regard to the fact that I don’t have tenure. I stand by my blogging and other outreach endeavors, and I’m not interested in living in fear of professional repercussions.”

Stephen talks about finding the right tone for is blog-

“I have trouble finding the right tone for posts. I’m not comfortable with the authoritative soap-box feel that many posts seem to take on. I have about 20 half-written drafts that were abandoned because they were becoming too preachy.”

Chris is surprising upbeat about blogging after getting fired twice for social media-

“I’ve been fired twice for social media infractions, which is close to the title of my upcoming paper I’m giving for the blogging archaeology session at the SAAs in Austin this year. The first time I was fired was for a post I wrote about two months after starting my blog . I wrote the post regarding a project using publicly available information that I found on the client’s website. To begin with, my employer and I we’re not exactly a good fit. They were stuck in the past and I was moving towards the future. Suggestions from all employees were routinely dismissed and there was no atmosphere for innovation and change. So, it really came as no surprise that I was fired as a result of a blog post. They said that I had violated confidentiality agreements that I signed when I was hired. I have to disagree on that point. I didn’t say anything in the blog post that wasn’t available on the Internet.”

For Sprache der Dinge spam is the ugliest thing about blogging-

“The ugly? Well that´s easy. There´s nothing more ennoying than to receive the message that my blog has got another follower and than the “follower” turns out to be some advertising thing on let´s say, protein shakes. Hey, that´s REALLY annoying. I invert much time and energy into writing and I would like to get at least interested followers and not some random guy using some publicising feature without any interest in my topic.”

Stefano is not happy about not being able to always express himself always-

“I cannot always write what I want on my blog. This is partly because I have a natural tendency to write rants, but also because since I started blogging I have always been within some institution (e.g. university) and straight criticism of colleagues or managers is almost always not well received. Now that I work for a public institution, things are even worse in this respect, because I could write a lot about interesting topics, but not without dealing with stories that are potentially disagreeable. I prefer to keep these things for myself, but I’m not happy with that.

Is this really bad? Yes. Writing and blogging comes out of creativity, freedom of expression and speech, and limiting myself to academic topics and general politics is increasingly frustrating.”

Stuart talks about the community that can develop from blogging and other social media-

“It can be no coincidence that my own post composed in this period, ‘Deep Maps in Indy‘ is my most viewed blog article ever. Apart from the fact that we generally referred to each other’s posts, thereby increasing our page views and likes (see below), this contributed to a sense of shared purpose and common cause – and this is especially so when one is in the company of great archaeology/cultural heritage bloggers such as Mia Ridge. The same was true of the CAA2012 session on the ‘Archaeology/Digital Humanities Venn Diagram session, which was subsequently Storified by Graeme Earl. Again, providing a sense of coming together from the real world, and continuity through a variety of different perspectives.”

Bill mentions that one has to be careful what you write else you end up putting your foot in your mouth.

The ArchaeoInformat discusses how we blog can change with time-

“When I first started blogging, it was with the intent of being a conduit of information about archaeology and informatics.  Mostly, I saw the need not for adding additional content as much as collating and disseminating the good works of others.  Over time, I’ve found that the most satisfying (and hopefully more productive) is the rant.  Within these posts, I afford myself the luxury of thinking about where I think the field of archaeology is going, how it’s affecting the world around us, or other such themes. “

Kelly was the first in the carnival to bring of the problem of the Imposter Syndrome-

I’m probably one of the few bloggers taking part in the Blogging Archaeology blog carnival who isn’t an archaeologist so occasionally I feel like I’m venturing into unfamiliar territory and that I have no business writing about a subject that I’m not really qualified to comment on. At times, I wonder if other archaeology bloggers think I’m helping to promote an inaccurate representation of archaeology or that I’m somehow condoning the looting of archaeological sites. I’m sure my fears are completely unfounded but these thoughts sometimes run through my mind when I’m writing my articles…”

Bill is one of the few to talk about using his blog as a platform-

“Recently, I have been more willing to turn my blog over to other people, and I’ve come to realize that my blog is both an outlet for my writing, but can be used as a platform to bring the writing of other people to a wider audience. Since part of what gives a blog exposure on the web is a regular (and constant) stream of good content (good being adjusted to the standards of the interwebs), a regularly updated blog tends to attract more attention than one that is only updated occasionally. My blog is updated five days a week, and it is immensely gratifying to be able to use my blogging habit to provide a platform for other people’s writing. “

The Ossiferous Arctic mentions that writing a blog post can be harder than writing an article-

“There is a tricky line to toe – to be neutral and professional while still being interesting. In today’s world of Buzzfeed headlines and Facebook polls on the news, this is more difficult than you might think! All I know is, is that I can whip out a 1500-word essay in half the time it takes me to write a 500-word blog post. and that’s just silly.”

The VCU using blogging to help others-

“We can link to the heritage locations from which we have obtained artifacts for 3D scanning, hopefully assisting these locations with meeting their missions”

Theoretical Structural Archaeology give us a great quote for the carnival

When people see some things as beautiful, other things become ugly.

When people see some things as good, other things become bad.

Being and non-being create each other. Difficult and easy support each other. 

Long and short define each other. High and low depend on each other. 

Before and after follow each other. Therefore . . .  .

Extract from Chapter II, Tao te ching, Lao-Tzu, c. C6th – C4th bce[1] 

This is one of my favourite pieces of writing from the Late Iron Age, and like some other survivals from that period, it is remarkably profound, and reflects a strand of human culture that is concerned with nature of reality, in a philosophical, and not necessarily in a religious sense.”

These Bones of Mine gives us another great banner

and credits readers as the best part of blogging-

“Clearly this is a simple answer because it is you.  If you are reading these words then that is why I am writing this.  This blog has found a bigger audience than I ever could have dreamed of, even with my almost non-existent advertising of the site.  It is the active feedback, the emails that ping into my inbox asking for information on McCune Albright Syndrome or Fibrous Dysplasia or the comments on my about page, that remind me why I continue to write this blog.”

Waldo delivers one of the best puns-

Being able to get “the point” across to others.

Trowel N’ Transit takes aim at the term blog-

“By far the ugliest thing about blogging is the very way we talk about it. “I blog,” “my blog,” “blogging,” “blogger.” Even detached from the non-professional connotation that the words often carry within academic circles, the root word is utterly bereft of euphony, and its descendant terms and expressions inherit this disastrous lack. “Blog” sounds like something the cat is about to bring up on the kitchen floor, or the noise I make after one of my road warrior days for the Survey (drive four hours to spend another four hours shovel-testing a site before driving another two hours to visit a second site and then drive five hours back home). If we had to make a portmanteau of “web” and “log,” couldn’t we have gone with “weg?” It sounds like a malevolent Celtic spirit, which is way cooler (FYI, I hate “wifi” too).”

Trowelpoints gives us a look at some of the unexpected benefits of blogging-

“Blogging for our company GRA has turned out to be a really great experience in unexpected ways.  While the blog has increased exposure for the company and radio show, it has also increased our exposure to the larger archaeological world.  Researching topics and looking up other archaeologists on social media venues has made us more aware of archaeological discussions going on in these spheres, as well as conferences and events.  It’s also proven to be a great way to let others in our team know what we’ve been working on and share some of the research that often goes unrecognized.  Creating a narrative about the artifacts has been a lot of fun and researching the context for the narratives has actually shed more light on the artifacts themselves.”

Terry chats about an issue that bothers me too.

“Another small matter that is disheartening is a tendency by some sites to use links to your posts via their own site in a blatant attempt to harness stats/traffic. In a way, it’s just an extension of social media ‘hijacking’ – where people go out of their way to copy and paste/manually RT your own, so they can reap any genuine RTs onwards. I can think of a few sites that are less than clear about proper citation. I’ve had some of my pictures go that way. I’ve also been credited for CC pictures I don’t own, but happened to use in the posts. Lazy web journalism.  It’s very annoying for those of us who go out of our way to give credit where credit is due.”

John touches on a bit of what January’s question will be about-

“My stats are pretty depressing, even when I was blogging pretty regularly. I have less than 15,000 total views. My most popular post, which  detailed some of the section 106 process and talked about how sites are both a dream and a nightmare, has 390 views. My favorite post has 113. I have gotten a lot of recent views for my Rising Star Expedition post, helped in part by Twitter promotion and retweets”

Finally there is my post.

New Since First Posting-

Mountains, Monuments and Mud shares how a blog just reaches more people-

Kayt adds her brush with the media-

My ‘best’ post in terms of pageviews is this one:

http://girlwithtrowel.wordpress.com/2008/03/31/stonehenge-excavations/ which is related to my only brush with the media frenzy, and is also the first and only time I have worked under a press embargo. When I was finally allowed to tell everyone what I had been up to, my blog was linked by the discovery channel, which generated a lot of hits very fast, and no single post has beaten that one.

Now on to January’s questions (if you want to join in click on this link for instructions)- What are your best (or if you want your worst) post(s) and why? Compare and contrast your different bests/worsts.

I leave it up to you to define what best is. We bloggers have all sorts of different stats available to us. You could look at-

  • Most viewed -single day?, week? month? year? all time- I leave it up to you
  • Most individual views
  • Most diverse audience
  • Facebook likes
  • Most viral (however you define viral)
  • Most Tweets
  • Went viral on reddit

Or you could go a bit more qualitative-

  • Best conversations
  • Led to a talk or a paper
  • Personal favorites (again however you determine that)
  • Most proud of
  • Best comment left by your audience e.g. this post changed my life,

These are just some ideas to get people started but please use what ever criteria  you want e.g. post with the most mentions of the word mummy, post your mom liked the best. Use 0ne or 20 different criteria it is up to you. Compare and contrast two posts or 200, again it is up to you.

John’s response to December’s question is a good example- “My most popular post, which  detailed some of the section 106 process and talked about how sites are both a dream and a nightmare, has 390 views. My favorite post has 113.”

The idea for this month is simple- reflect on what you consider you best post(s) and why that is. Also, think about what others might think is your best post however you want to measure that (views? comments? etc.).  Then share your thoughts.

Mailing List for Blogging Archaeology

Also, we now have a mailing list for participants. Basically, I will send out an email to anyone who wants to participate at the end of the month with links to the other posts in the carnival and next months questions. That way you don’t have to follow my blog to get the new questions. Emails will not be given out or used for anything else other than for blogging purposes. Link to mailing list here- http://eepurl.com/J05yH

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