The Society for American Archaeology (SAA) will be holding its annual conference next year, at which there is a planned session on the role of blogging in archaeology. As I am an archaeologist by training, and this blog does deal in large part with the subject of archaeology, I've been invited by Doug – of the Doug's Archaeology: Investigating the Profession and Research blog – to contribute to a blog carnival that he is organising in the run-up to the SAA session. As part of this, each month he will put out a question for archaeological bloggers to answer, in the hope that the data collected can be of real use in analysing how blogs are being used in this particular discipline.
Doug has already posted the two carnival questions for November here, and as December is nearly upon us, I think it important that I answer fairly pronto:
Why blogging ? Why did you start a blog ?
I started Albion Calling back in April 2012, when I was entering the final months of my BA degree in archaeology. A few of my fellow undergrads had started archaeological blogs –– most of which, I'm afraid to say, were largely devoid of useful content. Maybe it was my own hubris, but I thought that I could do a lot better, and create a blog that would actually be of use to other people. Far too many blogs simply contained posts from individuals in which they talked about their day or mused on subjects in which they had no expertise; sure those posts might be interesting to their friends and family, but I saw little utility in them for wider scholarship. I wanted to create something that a wider segment of academically-oriented people would want to read, and from which they would actually gain some benefit. I thought that focusing in on my own area of expertise, the archaeology and history of religion, would be the best way to do that.
I also felt that a successful blog had a lot of potential to attract interest to my other projects, namely my various academic publications and conference presentations, and in the long run would improve my career prospects; I surmised that having a successful blog would look good on an academic CV. So broadly speaking my decision to start a blog was twofold; improving my own prospects and creating an academic space that many readers would find useful, thereby encouraging dialogue and further research.
Why are you still blogging ?
Simply put, my blog has been a success. It's been running for just over a year and a half and has passed the 20,000 hits mark. Okay, that might not put it in the category of one of the internet's most popular blogs, but for a site dealing with such a niche subject as the archaeology and history of religion then I feel that that's a success. My interview series has been particularly popular, and many people have left comments on my blog or emailed me to say how much they enjoy reading it. It's little expressions of kindness and appreciation such as that which make me realise that my blog really is proving useful to people and which keep me blogging.