This post is my belated attempt to participate in the final month of the Blogging Carnival hosted by Doug over at the renowned Doug’s Archaeology Blog. Although my carnival posts only add up to a pitifully small number (2), I have been enjoying myself immensely reading all of the fantastic posts by other bloggers! At the very least, this carnival has introduced me to some pretty wonderful sites – my “Blogs I Follow” list has practically tripled.
The question to answer this month has to do with where archaeology blogging is heading… what our goals are for our own blogs in particular or archaeology blogging in general. And, most importantly, the direction that we hope blogging is going to take the discipline.
Throughout this carnival, my eyes have been opened to all of the different ways people discuss archaeology and anthropology on their blogs. For some, their blog is a blatant and acknowledged soap box; for others, it’s a way to get the general public interested in a specific project. For many, however, it’s simply a way to talk to the anonymous masses of the internet about a topic important to them. Most of the blogs I’ve read are somehow specialized; they focus on certain topics such as bioarchaeology, looting, museum practices, or a geographic region, etc. My own blog is specialized by both method (zooarchaeology and ethnobiology) and geographic region (Arctic… mostly Alaska). And I’ve come to realize that I don’t write for the general public. My pages (and the small number of posts that I’ve actually written) are geared towards notifying other zooarchaeologists of potentially-hard-to-find-but-useful resources. And in retrospect, this was my goal when I started blogging.
After reading so many other archaeologists’ blogs over the last several months, I’ve come to appreciate how great a medium blogging is for public outreach. As we become more inexorably linked to the internet (it still amazes me to think how far computers, tablets, and cellphones have come since I was a child!), the public, our students, and our colleagues are going to be looking for (and expecting) a quick and easy way to catch up on archaeological news without plowing through dense journal articles. The importance of visibility and accessibility (read: less jargon, more photos) for archaeological projects is just going to increase. We’ve all experienced how this trend is already being pushed by granting agencies; the expectation of ‘connectedness’ is rampant in all aspects of our lives.
I believe that blogging will become an increasingly popular media in the future. I’m incredibly glad to see how well archaeologists around the world are already utilizing the format to get information out into the blogosphere. I hope that, as a discipline, we will soon be sharing our data online as freely as we do our opinions and news blurbs. For me personally… I think it may be time to revamp my blog. And maybe (if we get funding this season…knock on wood), I’ll create one about our project site specifically geared towards the public. There are so many good examples of archaeology blogs already out there to emulate!
It always amuses me to remember that I became interested in archaeology in large part because I was pointedly disinterested in modern technologies… and yet here we are, using those same modern technologies to preserve and promulgate knowledge of the past.