Saturday, November 30, 2013

Why Do I/Don't I Blog?

Over at Doug's Archaeology, Doug has started a blog carnival, leading up to the SAA's. I'm not going to the SAAs this year, but since I've recently returned to my blog, I thought this month's set of questions were particularly pertinent:
  1. Why did you start a blog?
  2. Why are you still blogging?
  3. Why have you stopped blogging

Why did I start a blog:
  1. To Vent: My husband gets tired of hearing me complain. My first blog was actually anonymous, which gave me more scope for discussing the frustrations of committees, students, colleagues, etc. With this (non-anonymous) blog, I focus more on the frustrations of life-work balance, the mis-use of anthropological data, and teaching failures.
  2. To Expand my Community: My husband, my excellent colleague in Art History, and myself are the only archaeologists within a two-hour radius. I have wonderful coworkers for discussing teaching and topics of general academic interest, but I hoped to enter into a conversation with more archaeologists about teaching techniques that work, or how to structure an Intro to Archaeology class.
  3. To "Find my Voice": I hate that phrase, but... I enjoy writing and I want to learn how to write for a more popular audience. The best way to learn is to do.
Why am I still blogging:
  1. Well, I don't, always. A cursory glance at the right bar will show I tend to blog for a while, then I don't, then I resume. This reflects my schedule. I blog when I'm professionally active (so not if I'm home with a newborn for a summer), but not when I'm too professionally active (like when I'm prepping two new classes).
  2. About those class preps... Unexpectedly, I found the blog helped me think about my class structures and activities. I don't even publish all of the posts I write about teaching, but writing them is a useful thought exercise.
Why I have (sometimes) stopped blogging:
  1. See #1, under "Why am I still blogging". I teach a lot of credits, I have a lot of students, I'm serving on a bazillion committees, and I have three kids under the age of eight. I would like to blog more about work-life balance, but I can't seem to find enough time. Oh, the irony.
  2. Lack of Response. I wanted to expand my community with this blog, but I haven't been successful. I don't know exactly who reads this blog, but I haven't managed to get a conversation going with archaeologists I don't already know. Probably because I'm not a consistent poster, and I don't talk about cool, breaking research. That's OK, sometimes I like to talk to myself. I'm an academic, after all!

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