Where in the hell am I?

December 4, 2013

Blogging Archaeology 2014 Carnival: Good, Bad, Ugly

Filed under: archaeology — Tags: , , , , , , — John @ 1:44 pm


It’s month 2 of the #blogarch Blogging Archaeology Carnival 2014, leading up to the Blogging Archaeology session at the 2014 SAA meetings in my hometown of Austin, Texas. Note that this session will be on Saturday morning, and I’ll see what I can do about having some coffee for everyone!

The first month had an overwhelming response, now over 60 posts. Some new blogs were created for the carnival, and some inactive ones revived (ahem, kinda like mine). It seems like there are either a lot more archaeology blogs now than there were 3 years ago, during the first #blogarch carnival, or that Doug did a better job of spreading the word and recruiting people. You can see the summary of the first month’s action, as well as the December question, by clicking HERE or this link: http://dougsarchaeology.wordpress.com/2013/12/03/blogging-archaeology-blogarch-all-of-the-responses-to-why/

December’s theme is an excellent one: The good, the bad, and the ugly of blogging. In some ways, it’s a follow-up to November. Discussion points include Good: “anything and everything positive about blogging…You could even share what you hope blogging will do for you in the future.” Bad: “What are your disappointments with blogging? What are your frustrations? What do you hate about blogging? What would you like to see changed about blogging?” Ugly: “Your worst experiences with blogging- trolls, getting fired, etc.”

For some extra fun, enjoy this playlist (click it! click it!) I made of some reggae, rock steady, and dub jams inspired by The Good, The Bad, The Ugly and other spaghetti western flicks.

Here we go!

The Good –

  • I’ve had a chance to share a few excellent stories from the field (although when I looked at my site stats, none of those are among my most viewed posts). In some ways, it was nice to document them this way, so I can remember some of the details later. I think the few people that have read them have enjoyed them.
  • I’ve had a couple of opportunities to answer questions for people about CRM archaeology, what and how and why we do it. I’m heartened that my most popular single post is about this.
  • I’ve been able to share some semi-fleshed out thoughts and opinions and participate in the debate about some of the hot topics in the world of archaeology, such as crowdfunding and #freearchaeology.
  • I’ve gotten to attend one SAA conference and will be attending another, where I’ll continue to meet awesome new people as well as some amazing online friends in the flesh.
  • I was able to participate in the Day of Archaeology for the last three years, and my post this year got a really good response from my bosses and people in general…which leads me to
  • Positive responses at work to my blog, my Twitter, and my Instagram have helped convince my bosses to recommend me as a contributor to the social media group at my job, although they don’t have any blog set up…yet 🙂

The bad:

  • As always, feel like I’m talking to a wall most of the time. Very rare comments, although sometimes I get Twitter or Facebook or IRL comments and feedback.
  • My stats are pretty depressing, even when I was blogging pretty regularly. I have less than 15,000 total views. My most popular post, which  detailed some of the section 106 process and talked about how sites are both a dream and a nightmare, has 390 views. My favorite post has 113. I have gotten a lot of recent views for my Rising Star Expedition post, helped in part by Twitter promotion and retweets
  • I just have a hard time keeping up, and it makes me feel guilty. Believe it or not, I put a lot of time into these posts! Even a very brief one might take me over an hour of thinking, writing, rewriting, finding links to make it more interesting. This makes the “talking to the wall” aspect that much worse.
  • And this can make me feel, well, a little worthless (for want of a better word), I’m putting an awful lot of myself out here.
  • The old Impostor Syndrome. I don’t do real research, I don’t keep up very well with the research, I’m afraid to take speak up or take a strong stand on issues related to my actual area of work. There are also some other topics I have really strong feelings about that I’m afraid to blog about/take a public stance on, for fear of losing my job or future opportunities (I’ll gladly talk about them with you in person, though).

The Ugly:

  • While I didn’t get fired, I did have to make private delete one of my best, most well-received blog posts, that also happened to be topical to the day it was posted. One of the client representatives saw it and demanded it be taken down and that I not mention/blog about that particular project. Not only that, but as a result one of my old company’s offices (not the one I was based in) banned their people from blogging about work, period.
  • I posted something a little more personal and emotional than maybe I should have, and one of my (now ex-) coworkers saw it and commented in a way that wasn’t entirely positive or reassuring. This turned me off of blogging for a while, because I feel like one of the strengths of this blog and my writing is the attached, personal element of it. I mean, I could just post news story links with a couple of dry comments.
  • See Impostor Syndrome, above.


  1. Your killing me John, you beat me to the punch. A comparison of most read posts vs. personal favorites was going to be one of the months for #blogarch.

    Comment by Doug Rocks-Macqueen — December 4, 2013 @ 4:54 pm

    • You still can Doug, its a really good question! I can go into more depth or do a top 3.

      Comment by John — December 4, 2013 @ 5:07 pm

  2. I clicked, and will now listen while I work on my own post and more of my diss for the evening.

    I’m commenting, because the wall issue is a big one I feel as well, and even when we get retweets or other types of attention, it’s still really nice to have the comments right here, to have the conversation continue within the original space.

    Comment by Sarah M. Rowe — December 5, 2013 @ 7:09 pm

  3. […] the Ugly of blogging. But especially to John Lowe (of whereinthehellamI fame), whose fantastic playlist helped me write this (and the part of my thesis this blog post is based […]

    Pingback by Sickles? You’re still wondering about sickles? | hazelnut relations — December 6, 2013 @ 12:26 am

  4. Ah, Imposter Syndrome. I know it well. As someone who doesn’t have a formal background in archaeology, I always feel a little awkward whenever I discuss certain topics with qualified archaeologists and academics. It’s good to see that we all have our little moments of self-doubt.. 🙂

    Comment by Kelly M — December 7, 2013 @ 2:57 pm

  5. […] Blogging Archaeology 2014 Carnival: Good, Bad, Ugly (whereinthehellami.wordpress.com) […]

    Pingback by The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – Blogging Archaeology Carnival #2 #blogarch | Sprache der Dinge — December 27, 2013 @ 3:30 am

  6. Hey, I just read your post on the blogging carnival and linked it to my own post on this theme. There are so many points where I felt that I am experimenting the same as you do, especially on “emotional” blogging and about “talking to walls”. There is so much time involved in writing the posts and so much emotion, too. And sometimes I feel really helpless when nobody seems to care about them.
    After reading your post I thought about doing something against this phenomenom. Writing something together with other bloggers? Relating more between us?
    What do you think? Greetings from Berlin: Maria

    Comment by sprechendedinge — December 27, 2013 @ 3:40 am

  7. A fantastic entry on points I hadn’t even thought off. Very sorry to hear about the company not allowing it’s employees to blog though. Just wanted to comment here about the Imposter Syndrome. I also feel it, I very often feel overwhelmed by how many different branches of research there are in my favoured topic (human osteo/bioarch) let alone archaeology as whole! I’d say just pursue your passion and keep at it! Stats can certainly be depressing but be glad that someone is reading your work out there somewhere! You are not alone and I’ve only just discovered this awesome blog, keep it up!

    Comment by These Bones Of Mine — December 28, 2013 @ 9:26 am

  8. Thanks everyone for the comments! I’m learning of so many more archaeology blogs through this blogging carnival! It seems like all of us are looking for more interaction and that the carnival is encouraging that, which is great.

    Comment by John Lowe — December 30, 2013 @ 1:43 pm

  9. […] John touches on a bit of what January’s question will be about- […]

    Pingback by Blogging Archaeology #BlogArch – All of the Responses to the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly | Doug's Archaeology — January 5, 2014 @ 12:48 pm

  10. […] As Doug mentioned in the comments to my December post, I basically anticipated (and already answered) this question: […]

    Pingback by Blogging Archaeology #blogarch Carnival 2014: Best and Worst | Where in the hell am I? — January 28, 2014 @ 11:09 am

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