#169 All SAA2013 Tweets, Storified

When I joined Twitter two years ago during the Blogging Archaeology session at the Society for American Archaeology annual meeting in Sacramento, CA, I was amazed by the conversation that was happening parallel to the conference online. The interactions between conference attendees and those that could not attend was less than this year but it was a start. Actually, I’d like to know when the first SAA tweet was sent out. If anyone knows, let me know in the comments!

At this year’s conference there were anywhere from ten to twenty or so people tweeting. A few were consistently tweeting every paper they went to. I was impressed by the dedication. There were a number of people that interacted with the tweeters as well. They were asking questions about papers and I even saw a few that asked people to tweet certain papers and sessions. It’s a crazy new world we live in where a conference like this can be dynamically interactive.

One difficulty with following the live Twitter stream is that if you’re following one paper, and others are also tweeting, the tweets you want to see relating to that paper can get jumbled up with all the other Tweets. Storify is a service that lets you organize tweets, public Facebook posts, Instagram photos, and content from other social media sites, into a coherent flow of organized media. You can even add textual commentary to help break up sections.

So, I Storified (yes, it’s a new verb!) all of the tweets from the 2013 SAAs. Since there were about 800 to 900 tweets from the conference it didn’t make any sense to put them into one story. That’s why I broke up the tweets into the logical blocks that the conference is split into. There are three blocks of time on Thursday (morning, afternoon, and evening), two blocks of time Friday and Saturday, and one block on Sunday (morning). Even with these small blocks of time it still took a long time to create each story. I tried to collect tweets and images from entire symposiums and individual papers so one could read them through as though they were sitting in the conference room. Ideally I’d like to have added abstracts before each paper that was tweeted. Sadly, I just don’t have time for that.

Next year I want to put together a fancy sign-up sheet on my blog for tweeting at SAA2014 in Austin. I figure a lot of people are going to go and many of them will be tweeting. I’d like people to sign up to tweet sessions that they’ll be attending anyway. The goal is to get all the sessions tweeted. This is not only for the people not in attendance but as an unofficial archive of the live experiences people have at a conference. I really believe in this method of interaction and I think it has value high enough to warrant planning and consideration.

In the mean time, however, you can take a look at the tweets from this year’s conference. I’ve included links to the Storified tweets below. Please comment and tell me how it should be done differently or even if you like what I did. Any suggestions will be helpful and appreciated.

Storified Tweets from SAA2013

Again, let me know if you have any suggestions. Also, retweet and share this post so others in your network can see the conference tweets as well.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you in the field...and in Austin!

#168 Two Years

I'm at the Society of American Archaeology Annual Meeting in Honolulu right now and today marks two years since I entered the blogosphere. It's not exactly two years but this is the day I count.

Two years ago, at the SAA meetings in Sacramento I went to the Blogging Archaeology session organized by Colleen Morgan. I was only slightly aware of blogs and I wasn't on Twitter. During the session I signed up for a Twitter account and was forever immersed in the conversation that happens behind the scenes of many activities and conferences around the world.

That evening I signed up for Squarespace and started this blog. This is my 168th blog post. I've written approximately 120,000 words and about 1,500 people read the blog every week. My Twitter account is 99% archaeologists and other scientists and has grown to over 450 followers (at least 15 new followers while at this conference!). I don't try to get more followers and just let it happen organically. I feel that getting followers just for the sake of doing it isn't very useful to me. Sure it looks good to some people, but, I want followers that actually want to hear what I have to say.

This blog has always been about my activities in CRM archaeology and has contained an educational element as well. Now that I have my own company the blog will likely begin to transition to more of an educational resource, but, I want to include posts about projects and things I'm working on in the Great Basin. If I ever get any employees I'd like them to start blogging here as well.

My hope is to get other archaeologists, and especially CRM archaeologists, to start blogging. One step to achieving that will hopefully happen in Austin next year for #SAA2014. I'm going to bring back the "Blogging Archaeology" session and I'd love it if bloggers from all over could come into and relay their experiences in the blogosphere and tell future bloggers what's worked for them, what hasn't, how blogging is good for archaeology and public outreach, and how blogging has affected them. They session could also include papers on effective use of social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and whatever new kid on the block comes around between now and then. I've never hosted a session before so I have some research to do. I think it's important that this type of session continue to be a part of the SAA Annual meetings.

Eventually I'd like to have a YouTube channel that contains instructional videos. These videos could be about everything from identifying a flake to the finer points of pedestrian survey. When a new field tech, or even an old one, searches for something related to doing archaeology I want one of DIGTECH's videos to be the first thing they see in the search results.

Thanks to all my readers and especially to the commenters. Comments keep me honest and they keep me going. I know it's difficult to comment sometimes because of the way you are reading this. Most people are not reading these posts on the website. They are using smartphone or tablet apps and different apps online. If there were a way to comment without going to the website then I would do it.

I'm working on a resource for new archaeologists in the field of CRM. It will cover everything from writing a CV, to your first interview, to living in the field. This book isn't about archaeology. It's about being an archaeologist and doing it in a way that keeps you happy and sane. Stay tuned for details.

Thanks for reading and I really do hope to see you in the field!