Good LORD, I’m behind. I guess being out of academia has made me even worse at blogging. Hopefully all that will end when I hear the result of my application to study for a PhD starting this coming September. BUT THAT’S A DIFFERENT POST.
My point is I recently took part, as did many others, in the Blogging Archaeology carnival. Such fun! So it was absolutely fabulous when Doug Rocks-Macqueen, the brain behind the whole thing, asked me to write a chapter for a Blogging Archaeology themed e-book. The book is Open Access (yess!) and you can either go here to read/download the PDF, or you can go here to read it like a magazine. There are some awesome chapters in there from some lovely fellow bloggers and I would thoroughly recommend the e-book, not because of my own reflective chapter on the subject of #freearchaeology, but because of the awesome result of a whole lot of passion for a truly excellent subject – blogging archaeology!
I must go now, because there is a gin and tonic with my name on it, and a melanzane parmigiana that will not make itself. Hopefully I’ll be back soon with either a) some good news, or b) something interesting to say. In the mean time, read the book, disseminate it amongst your friends and colleagues, and follow the blogs of those who took part!
TO THE PAST!
… Sorry, I had to!
On a more serious note, though, I’d like to take this opportunity to express my very strong feelings about Open Access.
One thing (of many) that I learned during my Master’s was that OA is SERIOUSLY the way forwards. No, really. Like, we HAVE to be fully on the band wagon with this one. It’s important.
I shall illustrate my hopes for Open Access and blogging with anecdotal evidence from my dissertation writing experience. The bibliography of my dissertation is somewhat less homogenous than the average Master’s dissertation. It contained links to many a blog post, wiki page, and YouTube video. In fact, some of the most enlightening, poignant and current things that I read and referenced during that period of research were published online, completely openly and unofficially. My arguments would have been considerably less convincing without those references.
So where do I see blogging going in the future? I can see it becoming far more accepted, nay encouraged, as a form of academic dissemination. Or maybe I hope that academic dissemination becomes more like blogging. I hope that intellectual discourse becomes more open, more conversational, and less regimented. I am sure that if this happens, it’ll be thanks to the way that blogging culture has effected the academic community.
Again; LATE! But what the heck…
I’m going to get even more personal in this post, but I think a lot of people would agree they have had similar experiences with blogging.
I have always seen blogging as a much wider thing than just one individual writing down their musings which are then read and responded to by a set audience of interested peers and colleagues. Before I blogged on archaeology I blogged on other sites about teenaged things as an anony-mouse. Despite the complete contrast in subject matter, I find that the interactions are much the same. People aren’t only sharing their enthusiasms, they’re making friends, networking, socialising. My Master’s thesis looked at how people use online forums to socialise their experiences of the past in videogames, and I think that my in-depth study of online communities has deepened my belief that blogging as a form of online activity is not only about the sharing of knowledge and opinions, but also the creation of identities.
Using this blog I have created my own online persona. It is only a snippet of the whole me; a tiny portion of my life. It’s the parts that I chose to share with my ‘audience’ (somehow I dislike using that word, it sounds so self-important), and it’s hugely useful. I’ve gained so much from this online presence; friends, knowledge, wisdom (which I would argue is completely different to knowledge) experience, job interviews. And in turn it’s become a part of me, my little online self. I love it and think fondly of all the fabulous, inspiring people I’ve met who all have different opinions and ways of thinking.
So I suppose the answer to the question in the title is: probably right here, but I’d be a lot less experienced and knowledgable. I’d be less known of. But most of all, I’d be a lot less optimistic about my future. The most important thing about blogging for me is knowing that there are other, like-minded people out there. They’re facing the same problems, rejoicing the same incredible discoveries, laughing at the same ridiculous jokes, and I can talk to them all, whenever I want!