Here is my contribution to my own blogging carnival- Blogging Archaeology. FYI- I will not be doing a summary of November’s question till December 3rd so there is still time to join in.
I had to go back a few years to my first post to see why I started blogging. Back then I gave four reasons, some of which I had forgotten about:
1. I had just discovered blogs. Well, more specifically I discovered that blogs could be more than people blogging about their cats (not that there is anything wrong with the cat blog). If my memory serves me correctly someone had posted Michael Smith’s ‘How to give a bad conference talk‘ blog post. That was the moment I discovered that blogs could be well thought-out and incredibly insightful discussion about different aspects of archaeology. I also discovered on his blog something called a blogroll (list of other blogs that the author likes). This opened up the whole world of blogging to me and I was very interested in participating.
2. Practice, practice, practice…. I will be first to say that my writing…. not that great, especially my spelling and grammar. I also started to blog as a way to get more practice writing.
3. I had forgot about this reason but at the time I need a website. The blog was my way of creating a personal website for free.
4. Interaction- I was hoping to get myself out of my small academic world and interact with people through blogging.
Why I Still Blog?
Hmmmmm, I wish I had a simple answer for that but there are actual a couple of reasons why I still blog. Some of the reasons why I started are still relevant. Writing is a skill that one needs to constantly practice, or at least I do.
Blogging has turned into a very practical way for me to work through my ideas. I tend to use blog posts as my raw first draft in which I just spew out my thoughts onto digital paper. Some of these posts then get turned into full fledged academic papers. This process has been great for me because I occasionally get great feedback from readers and I am also able to get the information out sooner, in some cases by years, and to a much much much much much wider audience because it is an Open Access publication medium. My blog and blog posts actually get more views in a year than most articles and whole journals do in that same time.
Exposure brings up another reason why I blog. One of the more exciting and yet incredibly frightening experiences I have had at conferences is when people say to me, ‘Doug? Are you the Doug of Doug’s Archaeology?’. Exciting because it means that people both read my work and know who I am. However, very disconcerting because it means that people have read my work and know who I am and I have no idea if that is a good thing or not. Still, I am of the opinion that at this stage in my career and with the job prospects in archaeology, it is better to be known than unknown.
Connections- I have made some wonderful connections because of my blog that have both been personally rewarding and have helped my career.
It’s Fun- I find blogging fun. Not fun in the sense of a party or dinner with friends but fun in the sense that it can be very mentally stimulating. I can think about ideas and express them however I want. There is no pressure to keep posts between 4500-6000 words with citations in footnote helical style and in third person. I can experiment with my voice and how I present my thoughts. It is a stress free way for my to do what I like, talk about archaeology.
Finally, there is experimentation.This blog allows me to try out different things from making lists of journals to running polls. For example, I had started out a simple link list of archaeology blogs here. This has morphed into a much more complex list where I can track down broken links and let people know about other archaeology blogs. Something that would not have happened had I not been able to create a simple link list here first to see if people liked such a resource.
So those are the reasons I started to blog and why I still do blog.