I was invited today to take part in a blogging carnival, related to a Blogging in Archaeology session at the upcoming SAA conference. Quite handy actually as I can't attend the conference in person this year due to teaching commitments. What is a blogging carnival you may ask? Check out the original post on Doug's Archaeology here. Each month leading up to the session, a question is posted, and participants can choose to answer it via their blog. The answers are then all summarised at the end of the month. Hopefully this will highlight some new archaeology blogs to add to the long list I already follow (maybe I should do a post about that!).
Anyhoo. Here are my answers to the first set of questions:
Why did you start a blog?
I had been meaning to start one for years before I actually did. I have been a big user of social media since I was an undergrad, but always for personal rather that professional purposes. I eventually started my blog at the beginning of 2012 after organising my first conference. I found it to be quite an effort to advertise a conference and get people to submit papers, even one that had been around for several years, and I realised that having a blog for my professional activities could actually be quite useful.
Why are you still blogging?
After the first few posts I sort of got addicted to updating it and making it look pretty with pictures. But not just that, as I was halfway through my first postdoc and increasingly thinking about the academic job market and how to stand out from the crowd, it became apparent that the use of social media is one way of doing this. Blogging is becoming a useful tool for promoting research both within and beyond the academic sphere, and for having discussions. At some point I realised that it was also a great medium for sharing microscope photographs. I have a huge collection of images that I use for teaching, and only a fraction of them have ever been published. When I was learning micromorphology, it was sometimes very difficult to get good reference images, and I figured by posting these online it might inspire others to take up micromorphology, or at least to make the subject less of a mystery to non-specialists.