One Year ago today I was attending the Society for American Archaeology Annual Meetings in Sacramento, California. It was Saturday afternoon and I’d already spent two days listening to some really great sessions. Now, I’m a techy kind of guy, as you can tell from some of my previous posts (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here) so, of course, I had my conference schedule on my iPhone and on my iPad and I was taking notes on my iPad when I heard interesting things that I wanted to remember. Prior to Saturday afternoon I’d noticed only a couple other iPads, other tablets and a few smart phones. I’m sure there were others in my presence (tablets and smart phones alike) but they were not out and they were not being used.
Most people that have a smart phone, at least in my experience, still think of it as a phone. I wish I had an app that could track the time I spend using my phone as an actual phone (including texting) and the time I’m using it as an enhancement to whatever I’m doing at the moment. The same goes for a tablet. It’s not a computer. Sure, it has a computer in it, but, it’s not a computer in the traditional sense. To many people a computer is on a desktop at work or at home on which you sit down to accomplish a task that you need help with. Today, many people also use it as a communication device, whether through Facebook, email, or whatever you desire, but it is still a thing you go to when you want to accomplish something. For me, a tablet is like a computer but allows you to create and consume media on your terms and in a place that you choose. Can you really create a creative masterpiece sitting in an uncomfortable chair in front of a desk? Sure, you can alter the setting a bit but who every really does? A laptop computer takes you one step closer towards the freedom of a tablet but not quite there. Using a tablet to create is unlike any experience you have ever had with a computer. OK. That was a bit of a side track…
When I walked in to the Blogging Archaeology Session, not knowing what to expect, I was at first very encouraged by the many tablets that I saw. More people in the room had an iPad than didn’t. At that moment, it was a very different room than all the ones I’d walked into thus far. Let’s just say that there are a lot of tweed jackets, elbow patches, and note pads at the SAAs. What I saw when I walked into that room was the future of archaeology.
While the organizers were getting ready for the session they were displaying a message on the screen in the front of the room. The message was inviting people to join the conversation about the conference online by using the hash tag “#SAA2011” on Twitter. I didn’t have a Twitter account. The only thing I’d heard about Twitter until that point involved hearing what some ridiculous celebrity did that weekend. Twitter, to me, was only slightly worse than Facebook and was utterly useless. However, I wanted to know what was going on at the conference and I wanted to know what the hell a hash tag was.
I signed up for Twitter while I was sitting there, searched for #SAA2011, and watched as the curtain was pulled back and my eyes were opened. There were talks that I wanted to go to that were being discussed by people on Twitter and I could follow them as though I were there. Questions were being asked and answered by people in the room and people on another continent that were also following the conference. It was an amazing experience.
Before I continue I have to mention another experience I’d had the day before. I was in a session with a friend of mine and a popular blogger, John Hawks, walked into the room. She recognized him instantly and pointed him out to me. I had never heard of him and confessed that I really didn’t follow any blogs. I got the sense that I was missing out on something and it stuck with me. OK. Back to the Blogging Archaeology Session.
I was really encouraged for the future of archaeology from what I heard in that session. I’ve always been interested in bringing archaeology to the public but have never really known how to do that. As a field tech in CRM archaeology you are expected to not talk about your job. It’s not your place. In fact, most of CRM archaeology requires you to stay silent about what you do. Through blogging, though, I found that I could have a voice. That voice lost me a few jobs because we are still trying to figure all of this out, but it’s still progress.
After the blogging archaeology session I went straight back to my hotel room and opened up a Squarespace account. It’s been one year and this is post number 97. It hurts my brain a little not to round it out to 100 but I didn’t want to write some fluff posts just to get there. So, here are some stats related to the last year. I lost April by waiting until today to look at this because Squarespace only records 12 months back and this April has superseded last April.
While I’m on the Squarespace subject, my account has come due. It’s $144 for one year at the level I’ve chosen to work best for my blog and podcast. So, if you could, occasionally check out some of the very unobtrusive adds on the right side of the page. Thanks!
Thanks for listening to me rant, discuss, and attempt to educate and share knowledge over the past year, keep commenting, start your own blog, and I’ll see you in the field.