Blogging Archaeology: Good, Bad, Ugly

Monks Mound in the snow at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site - History Echoes

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site in Winter ©E.S.Paynter 2013

A Blogging Carnival has been put together by Doug’s Archaeology as an addition to the Society for American Archaeology 2014 Blogging Session. A question is posed and archaeology bloggers respond. What has happened is an amazing addition to a session for the conference. Those who may not feel comfortable presenting at SAA are sharing their ideas in a comfortable format.  Bloggers who cannot or would not go to SAA can easily participate in the Carnival from home. People who have never heard of the SAA conference can read about archaeology, blogging and blogging in archaeology. Overall, it is priceless.

My Answer to December: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Blogging

I am new to blogging. It is an interesting beast. I am learning just how multifaceted blogging can be. It is a great endeavor with a lot to offer both the writer and the reader. As with everything, though, there are setbacks, drawbacks and even upsets. I have not experienced all of these things.

Most of my experience thus far lands in The Good category. Most recently I have discovered a community of bloggers that are impressive. I would not be as avid of a blog reader if I was not writing. I am continually astounded by how much is going on in the world, how much information is available, and how much each person has to offer. I cannot thank the world of bloggers enough for teaching and inspiring me again and again. If you do not write, might I suggest you Read! It is easier to follow blogs in the modern age than one might think. Many bloggers are on social media such as twitter or offer email updates.

The BAD. Uh Oh. One of my posts hit reddit. I suddenly went from a few people reading the post to a lot of people reading. For some perhaps this is not unusual. For me, it was a game changer. I became aware of my ego and it became tied to my blog. I wanted to write, write as best I could and be lucky enough to gain readers.  I went from having an opinion to overthinking. Will people find this interesting? Is my tone good? What is my blog’s overall ‘brand’? I could go on. I am still trying to figure out my blog’s look, tone, and topics. I apologize for the construction. It will probably continue to undergo small and perhaps large transformations. As much as we may want to be islands of independence, most of us enjoy approval. It is inevitable, self-doubt is something we all face. This and other factors have contributed to writers block. Keeping up with a blog with or without self-doubt is an accomplishment.

The Ugly. I am going to pass along something my grandmother told to my mother and my mother constantly reminded me. “If you don’t want to see it on the front page of a newspaper, don’t write it down”. This is contrary to the spirit of every diary that I ever kept, however, the advice is sound and very important for a blog. This is a public forum. I have not mentioned where I work or where I have worked. I am hesitant to do so. I have a disclaimer. Anything I write does not reflect my current employer or past employers. I avoid directly discussing sites on which I have worked. I am hopefully careful enough about what I write that I will not attract criticism that could potentially harm my employment. Despite the fact that there are more appropriate forums for me to present my work, I am sad that I am not more free to share what I do on a daily basis. It is fascinating. I am in love with my job. Perhaps in time I will reach that lofty goal of sharing freely.

November: Why Blogging? 

Read about my reasons for why I started blogging on my Tumlr in two posts: You Should Join Blogging Archaeology! and Why Blogging?