I’m taking part in the “Blogging Archaeology” carnival sponsored by Doug’s Archaeology. The carnival is designed to expand upon the 2014 Blogging Session that will be held at the Society for American Archaeology’s annual meeting in April 2014. Doug is asking a series of questions each month leading up to the meeting.
You can learn more about the carnival here. And for those of you who tweet, the hashtag is #BlogArch.
Responses to November’s questions can be found here. This month, the questions center on the good, bad, and ugly of blogging, and we have the option of answering one or more of the questions.
What Is The Good I’ve Found In Blogging?
We’re supposed to move beyond the basic “creating networks” for this question. That’s a bit tough for someone like me, who hopes to gain an audience for the fiction I’m writing. Potential agents, editors, and publishers
want demand to see that social media presence, even from previously unpublished writers. I’ve likened that to bands needing an established audience before they can even book their first gigs.
Like many other aspiring authors, though, I’ve discovered unexpected benefits of blogging besides networking per se. I’ve found excellent critique partners whose insights help improve my writing and storytelling skills. The regular weekly posts I write are also good mental exercise. Posting snippets from my draft novels lets me measure reader reaction. And while I don’t often post about archaeology specifically, it’s encouraging to see the positive response those posts receive from my readers. As a whole, I’m afraid my “field” — like so many other disciplines — turns up its collective nose at the notion of making our work understandable, and yes, entertaining, to the general public. So I find it encouraging that when I do post about my “day job,” there’s still an interested audience.
What Is The Bad I’ve Found In Blogging?
For me, the bad is limited to the time blogging takes away from the novels I’m writing. Putting together quality posts takes time. When I started blogging, I posted several times a week. Then I dropped to two posts per week. And now it’s one. I also follow too many blogs, and even though I don’t comment on all of them, I do comment regularly on more than a few. That’s a small price to pay, however, for the support and friendship I’ve found with fellow bloggers.
What Is The Ugly I’ve Found In Blogging?
My corner of the blogosphere doesn’t see ugliness, and I’m breathing a huge sigh of relief and gratitude as I write this sentence. Of course, a large part of that ugly-free state is the fact that I don’t post about controversial subjects or follow bloggers who focus on such topics. And if I don’t agree with a post I’ve read, I simply won’t comment. I know of other bloggers who have had to deal with trolls, and I couldn’t—and wouldn’t—put up with it. If a flaming comment did appear in my moderation queue, I would trash it. I’m not against disagreement. But I am against disrespect and intolerance.
So there you have my experiences with the good, bad, and ugly of blogging. I’ve found a corner of the blogosphere that is both comfortable and challenging for me and my particular goals. In the end, blogging is what we make it. We can be silly, serious, supportive, critical, political, religious, creative, honest, manipulative, timid, bold, and so many other things. We can close comments and use it strictly as a personal soapbox. Or we can seek active engagement with readers. The choice is ours.
Please feel free to share how you would answer any of these questions in the comments.
It’s time for me to focus on the upcoming holidays—and a heavy push of end of the year work. So I’ll be closing out December with two simple posts. I hope you’ll all be back in 2014!