Thursday, April 3, 2014

My Future in Blogging Archaeology: Blogging Carnival Month 5

Looking at the date on my last post, I've been MIA for about two and a half months. That was a flurry of work and dissertation writing in which every spare moment (and just about every vacation and sick day) was used to get a new draft out to my committee. I'm happy to report that I managed that milestone last week, and while I'm not done done, it's out of my hands, at least for a little while. I've been enjoying a brief respite while I reorient myself and figure out where to dive in next.

Word cloud from my theory chapter. I'm one of "those" archaeologists. And by that I either mean one whose theory is dominated by words like "practice" or one who procrastinates by putting their theory chapter into a word cloud.

So, I'm going to try to squeeze in this post just under the wire. I managed to respond to the first month's question for 
the Blogging Archaeology Carnival (#blogarch) back in November, and that was it before I got pulled into a vortex of family holidays, international travel, and dissertating. The last query for #blogarch in the lead-up to #SAA2014 asks us to discuss our goals for blogging and where we hope it takes us and archaeology.

My first goal has to be to write more, to actually use this platform on a regular basis. So many of the conversations that prompt blog posts are incident-specific, and if you're not writing the conversation passes you by. So, for example, there is no official response on here against the National Geographic Channel's "Nazi War Digger" series (though I join with many others in condemning the show), and I have a draft post from back in February that I never finished that responded to a twitter conversation about the stand that archaeologists have to take to prevent looting (it's funny how those two points seem to go together in retrospect). I'm hoping that now that I have a little mental space freed from the dissertation that I can be more responsive to issues that arise and use this platform to address them.

My second goal would be to use the blog to share my research as I think through issues related to methodology and research content. That's an admittedly frightening prospect, to open myself and my research up to the comments of anyone with an internet connection. It's important, though, particularly in the context of the work I do - if I'm really committed to collaboration and outreach then I have to make this stuff available. I'm sure this is something that will require some tweaking as I go forward - while my work is my work, the work I do as an employee is not entirely mine, and some of the projects I work on have community privacy concerns, etc.

Only two goals, but fairly major goals. I think the first will be a bit easier (and less scary) to achieve than the second one, but I'm excited by both. Particularly for those who put their research out there, how do you balance competing concerns of public and private knowledge, and how do you overcome the nervousness factor?

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