Sunday, 8 December 2013

Blogging Archaeology #2

Time for episode two of the Blogging Archaeology blog carnival. You can see the synthesis of the first set of responses on Doug's Archaeology blog.

The next set of questions are:

The Good- what has been good about blogging. I know some people in their ‘why blogging’ posts mentioned creating networks and getting asked to talk on a subject. But take this to the next level, anything and everything positive about blogging, share your stories. You could even share what you hope blogging will do for you in the future.

The Bad- lots of people mention it feels like talking to brick wall sometimes when you blog. No one comments on posts or very few people do. What are your disappointments with blogging? What are your frustrations? What do you hate about blogging? What would you like to see changed about blogging?

The Ugly- I know Chris at RAS will mention the time he got fired for blogging about archaeology. It is your worst experiences with blogging- trolls, getting fired, etc.

So let's do them in order (and trying to avoid too much repetition from my last entry...

The Good This varies depending which blog I'm talking about. My Roman Binchester blog has been wonderful - lots of hits and useful feedback. It's been good being able to share information about progress on site more or less as it happens. This has been particularly useful when we've had exciting finds or major developments. It's also become a useful document of how our interpretation and understanding of the site has changes over time. If you sat and worked through the blog posts you would see our thoughts and ideas changing from year to year, from week to week and even from day to day. On a more functional level, it acts as a kind of ad hoc site notebook highlighting major (and minor) discoveries and developments and a useful aide memoire for me. It has also proved particularly useful when we've had press involvement (we've done quite a bit of press and media over the years). 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. It is certainly noticeable from the webstats that the appearance of the site in the media leads to a distinct upsurge in readers (even when the blog itself hasn't been publicised).

The other blogs, although having a far lower readership have also got their positives. I've found the discipline of sitting down and writing a blog entry has often helped marshal my thoughts into some kind of order- it's a useful exercise in developing and expressing an opinion. I've also developed a small number of useful contacts (either directly through the blog or through sharing it on FB).

The bad Nothing shocking here- no horror stories. Downsides are simply, not having enough time (or the discipline to make time) to blog as much as I would like. Many blog entries have been carefully written in my head but never made it to the page (screen).

the ugly Again, nothing major - the only depressing thing is the resounding thud as a carefully tooled blogpost is despatched into the ether to a complete lack of any response...