Blogging Archaeology: November Question
Three years ago we participated in the Blogging Archaeology Carnival hosted by Colleen Morgan of Middle Savagery. A blogging carnival involves various archaeology blogs writing about the same topic, and then all of those topics being reviewed by someone in a single post. This year, Doug’s Archaeology is hosting the new Blogging Archaeology Carnival. Like last time, the goal of the carnival is to get people discussing blogging archaeology, social media and public interaction, and other related topics leading up to the Blogging Archaeology session at the 2014 meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.
We participated in the first carnival, and are proud to continue answering questions. In our first year we had posts on the role of blogging in archaeology, the risks of publically blogging about archaeology, our interactions with the public, and finally what the best outcome of the 2011 blogging carnival would be. Like last time, we will be including opinions from various members of our Campus Archaeology team.
The first question of this year’s Blogging Archaeology is:
Why blogging? – Why did the group start a blog?
Dr. Lynne Goldstein: Campus Archaeology’s blog began with the beginning of our program. When the program first started, we wanted as many people as possible (both on campus and off) to know what we were doing and why we were doing it, so we used a wide variety of social media. Blogging is a way to interact long-term with a number of people, and because the program was so different than anything else that had been done, we wanted to regularly communicate what we were doing without the space limitations of Twitter or Facebook. Blogging lets you say what you need to say, while also opening up the discussion to many others. It also allows you to embed video, pictures, etc. The other reason that blogging has been so important to us is that everyone who works for Campus Archaeology is required to blog. This lets our readers see that the program includes a lot of different people doing a lot of different things. It also gives students experience in blogging and in explaining their work to the public.
When the Campus Archaeology field school is conducted on campus, the field school students are also required to write regular blog posts to our site. We have found that this is not only a helpful experience for the students, it allows the community to see and comment on student posts, and it also allows the instructors to see what and how well various concepts have been learned. In fact, in 2012, Terry Brock and I won 2nd place in the AT&T Award Competition in Instructional Technology for our Field School (in the Blended Course category). Here is a link to the video explaining our course.
The reasons we continue to blog are much the same reasons we began blogging, except we now know that it is a medium that works for us and is read by many.
Why are you still blogging?
Katy Meyers: The Campus Archaeology blog throughout the program’s development has remained a pivotal feature of our social media. It is our primary way of sharing our interpretations, insights and finds. It gives all the fellows and interns a way to share their research with the public. Most importantly, we provide the MSU community with consistent insight into the archaeological heritage of their community. I think this is the reason why we continue to blog. Most students, alumni and campus members will never take an archaeology class, but almost all have a strong interest in MSU’s heritage. We provide an alternative view of the past by revealing history in its material remains in an accessible manner online, and I think this is why we will always continue to blog.
Kate Frederick: Being new to the Campus Archaeology Program, blogging allowed me to quickly become engrossed in the history of MSU. Researching for new blogs and catching up on old blogs enabled me to get a crash course in the work done by previous campus archaeologists and to understand the areas still unstudied. Encouraging CAP grad fellows and undergraduate interns to blog about their research projects allows all of us to interact and give feedback, while giving a Cliff notes version of the archaeology of MSU. Additionally, the blogging platform allows for the public to participate in the heritage of MSU and hopefully our research instills in them a sense of stewardship for the past.