blog carnival

#225 #BlogArch March - Where is blogging going?


So, I completely missed February. Between trying to pay the bills, a huge proposal I had to write, and starting a second company (more on that in a future post) the time just got away from me. Nothing has changed, since I'm writing this on my iPad while walking so I don't get behind in the Great Archaeology Step Challenge over on FitBit. Maybe I need to move to Mars. That extra hour or so every day would really come in handy.


The Question

Doug's final question for the blogging carnival is: Where are you/we going with blogging, or, where would you like to go?"

The Answer

The simple answer is that I would like to see blogging become a jumping off point for conversations in different mediums and among different people. Good blogs should turn into TV shows, documentaries, books, and podcasts. Start the conversation on the blog and continue it elsewhere. 

Some blogs already do this in various ways. A few are syndicated on larger websites and some bloggers have been asked to write for larger media outlets. My own blog is coming out in a few weeks as a book from Left Coast Press. Well, part of a series I did, anyway.  

So, where should we be going? We should be using our blogs to engage with the public. Some bloggers seem to write for others in thier profession. To me, this is a little like preaching to the choir. I understand it in many cases, but, I think we need to spend more time explaining what we do to the public. After all, our job is only half done when the research is finished and the report is written.



We'll be talking about some of this at the Blogging Archaeology session at the SAAs this year. I'm hoping to have a meetup with four of the panelists from the CRM Archaeology Podcast where we can continue the discussion. I'd like to buy a few more microphones and a mixer so we can do a live recorded question and answer show too. If you find value in what we do, click through to the website, if you're not already here, and click the donate link. Every amount helps and you'll be entered into a drawing for the book I mentioned above.

Thank you to Doug for organizing this blogging carnival! I think it's been a rewarding and insightful experience for everyone involved.

Thanks for reading and I'll see you in the field, and, at the SAAs! 

#218 #BlogArch Carnival January: Best Posts


We’re moving forward with Doug’s Archaeology Carnival and this is my January post. I like to wait until the end of the month so I can wait for everyone else to post. That way I can see what they do that I like, what I don’t like, and take all the good parts and call them my own. Sort of like Apple does with technology. And, like Apple, I make take those ideas and make them iAwesome! Right.

I figured a post that essentially boils down to a popularity contest should start with a little bombastic ego boosting. Feel free to comment your ass off so this can be the post I talk about next year.


It can be difficult to measure the “worth” of a particular post. Some posts receive comments, some don’t . Some get a lot of “page views” and some don’t. Then there are the unique views. Those are supposedly the views that count only once per person visit. That means you get counted only once even if you use the same device to check out a post several times in one day. Many bloggers say the unique views are the ones that count. Apparently the bots the troll the internet, such as Google Search, hit sites multiple times which inflates your page view count. I don’t know whether that’s true, and frankly, I don’t care much.

I don’t have any hard numbers on comments, views, or unique views because I switched from Squarespace 5 to Squarespace 6 last March. When I did that I lost my metrics for Squarespace 5 which accounted for my first 115 or so blog posts. I can tell you, however, which posts were more popular.

By far, my most popular post was the one I made about getting fired for blogging. It happend soon after I started my blog and I’m pretty sure I had over 600 unique views on that post in just a couple days. I keep getting hits on it so I’m sure it’s over several thousand by now.

My most popular series is my “Shovelbums Guide”. It seems that people like this stuff. I named the posts so they are highly searchable as well, so, I think a lot of non-archaeologists end up finding them on Google. The posts were so popular, in fact, that I decided to make an eBook out of them. I happened to have a rough draft of the book on my iPad at the SAAs in Hawai’i last year when I stopped by the Left Coast Press booth. My plan was to ask one of the editors, Caryn Berg, if she thought it would make a good book. I had no intention of publishing it traditionally. She told me that it was a great idea and encouraged me to put in a proposal. I did…the book will be out in April, just in time for a book signing at the SAAs in Austin!

Right now I get between 2500 and 3500 unique hits per month on my blog. It’s pretty steady, even though I don’t blog on a strict schedule. I think I’ve created enough content that I get a lot of hits from people just searching terms on search engines.

I hope to expand on the blog in the future. What I really want is to have a community of CRM bloggers that blog for the DIGTECH CRM Archaeology Blogging Network. That sounds ambitious, I know, but some many people blog so infrequently that they never get exposure. I’d love to see a number of bloggers blogging on here about CRM topics so there is always something good and no one feels pressured by a schedule. What do you think? If you want to joint me and blog on the Random Acts of Science blog, let me know!

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

#201 #SAA2014 #BlogArch Carnival November

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From Doug's Archaeology Blog: At this year’s SAA conference there is going to be an amazing Blogging in Archaeology session [which I'm chairing, incidentally]. It has been a few years since there has been one. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend the session and I know a couple of other archaeology bloggers who can’t either. My way of contributing is to widen the participation by hosting a blogging carnival (what’s a blogging carnival, click here) on archaeology and blogging. This was done for the last blogging session by Colleen and this is inspired by her work.

Question 1: Why blogging? Why did you start a blog?

I've written about this before. Actually I probably wrote about it in my very first post, as I suspect most people do. I'm going to write about it again, however, because of the importance of the circumstances.

Prior to the SAAs in Sacramento in 2011 I wasn't a blogger and I didn't even read any blogs. Blogs were pretty much off my radar. Since I wasn't on Twitter either, that was likely the reason. I was always very interested in blogging, however. I'm one of those arrogant bastards that thinks everything he says is important and profound. It's true. Just ask me.

Actually, my first thoughts about writing recreationally  about archaeology started on my very first project. I'm the type of person that reads instructions, reads technical manuals, and follows recipes. The fact that there wasn't a book I could read that would tell me how to be a CRM archaeologist really annoyed me. After a couple jobs I thought I should write one. I even went so far as to send in a table of contents and sample chapter to the people at Rough Guides. They said it was too much of a "niche" market. These are the same publishers with a "Rough Guide to Opera". Right.

Fast forward to 2011. I have a fresh MS degree in Archaeological Resource Management and I'm at the SAAs. I was starting to get more interested in talking about archaeology and was intrigued by the Blogging Archaeology session organized by Coleen Morgan. What I saw not only humbled me, but, blew me away.

While I was waiting for the session to start I opened a Twitter account because of the Twitter information on the projector screen at the front of the room. I was amazed at the behind-the-scenes activity going on! I was also pissed that I wasn't part of it.

After hearing some awesome papers by awesome people I immediately went back to my hotel room and started a blog. I wrote my first post that day and tweeted it out. I had an initial surge in followers to my twitter handle and my blog, but they fell off and things equalized. Now, my blog is read by about 2000-4000 unique visitors a month (about 10,000 page views a month) and I have over 560 Twitter followers.

My blog is designed to help fellow archaeologists. Occasionally I'll talk about a specific project, but, that's usually not allowed in CRM so I stay away from it. Also, being fired twice for blogging will make you a little gun shy. It's one of the reasons I started my own company. Ef those bastards. I'll just blog about my own projects.

I have a series of posts under the title, "Shovelbums Guide" where I give helpful information to new and experienced archaeologists. Recently I started a "Word for Archaeologists" series too. Many of us in report writing need all the formatting help we can get.

So, to make a long answer even longer: I blog because I'm the most interesting man in the world and I want all of you to know how much I know. Or, I just like to help people and I want everyone to learn from my spectacularly colossal mistakes.

Why are you still blogging?

In short, I'm still blogging because I feel like I still have something to say. When every field tech is informed and treated fairly I'll stop. I don't think that's ever going to happen, though, so I think I'll keep this going for a while.

I've tried to blog on a schedule, but, unfortunately life and other commitments get in the way. If I were getting paid for this I'd be able to devote more time to it (see subscription levels to the right!). It's not all free work, though. My Shovelbums Guide series is being turned into a book by Left Coast Press (click on the image above) and will be out for #SAA2014. Or, around then, at least. Because of the payment system, though, I won't see a dime until June of 2015. When I do get a check, I doubt I'll be quitting my day job. Books are more of a labor of love than a way to pay the bills. Well, archaeology books, anyway.

The blog has also turned into a podcast that me and some other great archaeologists put out every two weeks. I'd like to do it every week but I don't think I can ask for that sort of commitment from the panelists. Again, you can't look a free gift horse in the mouth.

The CRM firm I started back in January will eventually pay someone to blog, podcast, and make videos. I have to get some work, first, though. My savings have pretty much dried up and this week I'm working part time at my wife's workplace. Her boss is cool and came up from starting the business too. She's the ideal to strive for. I won't deny that working there part time during the winter feels a little bit like giving up and failing, though. Stupid bills. I have a meeting this week that could change everything, though, so we'll see.

If I get to the point where I have project archaeologists I'll expect them to blog. I think it's a great way to coalesce your thoughts so the public can understand them, I also think it's a necessary part of our job. Recording history is only the first half. Your job isn't done until you tell someone about what you found and your conclusions.

OK. That's enough for now. Thanks, Doug, for organizing this!

Thanks for reading and I'll see you in the field!