Final question: “where are you/we going with blogging or would you it like to go? I leave it up to you to choose between reflecting on you and your blog personally or all of archaeology blogging/bloggers or both. Tells us your goals for blogging. Or if you have none why that is? Tell us the direction that you hope blogging takes in archaeology.”
My first hope for blogging, the reason I became interested in it in the first place, is that it bridges the gap between the public and the world of academia. It would not only accomplish the goal of engaging the public with the past on a most basic level, but perhaps even play a larger role in the education of students at both the high school and college levels. In an ideal world, teachers would no longer just go by the textbook in their classrooms, but engage students in a variety of perspectives as a vital part of their education (the goal here being partially to encourage independent thinking, a skill woefully lacking in our public school systems). Blogs are no longer run by “that shady guy” in the public mind, but by our friends, our colleagues, often people whose work we aspire to live up to.
If I had known how many archaeology blogs existed when I started university, I believe I would have made better choices with regard to my education and training – one’s professors are invaluable, of course, but I think it would have been beneficial to consider a number of different opinions from a much broader community of archaeologists. Perhaps it would have even been easier to hone in on my research interests when I saw and became inspired by what creative individuals in the field were doing with theirs. And of course it’s always beneficial for grad students to be reminded of why they love their chosen field of study in the first place by nerding out with people who aren’t in direct competition with them!
After blogging for some months now, I would take this vision even further and hope that blogging in archaeology would not only educate the public, but actively moderate the public reputation of archaeology as a field. I’m sure many of my fellow bloggers have already indicated the role of social media in halting the airing of “Nazi War Diggers,” a highly empowering example of the capabilities of bloggers towards this end. I feel that no matter what our reputation in the public eye, every good archaeology blog should strive to explain the question that every archaeologist should be well-equipped to answer in terms laypeople can readily understand – one that mainstream outlets such as the recent film Monuments Men attempted and epically failed to elaborate on – why is our planet’s cultural heritage worth preserving?