The other day, for vanity's sake, I was looking at my Blogging Archaeology article over at the Archaeology Magazine webpage. I noticed that it was formally published on January 18, 2008, two years ago. I began to think about how much archaeology's engagement with the web has changed over the past two years. It's not that blogs were revolutionary back in '08, but they still were things that required, at least in an academic and archaeological context, some kind of explanation. While I don't think that blogs are self-explanatory today nor do I think they've reached a point of widespread acceptance as a useful contribution to the academic discourse, they are at least held in less contempt, which may be enough.
The most remarkable thing about the article is how many of the blogs and their links remain live. A few have been dormant over the holiday season with their most recent posts in November ( Adventures with Yo and Mo, Thoughts on Antiquity) and few have changed urls (Alun Salt's Clioaudio is defunct, but I am sure that he is blogging somewhere), but the vast majority of the blogs listed in 2008 are still active to some extent. This reveals some impressive stability in the archaeological blogosphere. There have also been some great additions to the blogging world like the informative Blogging Pompeii and the wonderfully dramatic Kent-Berlin Ostia Excavations' blog and more than a handful of blogs that I missed in my original article (especially worthy of note is Colleen Morgan's remarkably diverse Middle Savagery, Diana Wright's elegant Surprised by Time, Katie Rask's playful and smart Antiquate Vagaries, and the useful Research News in Late Antiquity).
More interesting, however, is the development of alternatives to blogging within the archaeological community. A number of veteran bloggers have moved seamlessly into Tweeting: Alun Salt, the longstanding dean of ancient world bloggers, the Rogue Classicist, Adrian Murdoch of Bread and Circuses, and Chuck Jones, the Librarian at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, who edits and contributes to so many blogs, I can't keep track. There are some new players as well like Archaeology News. Research News in Late Antiquity provides timely Tweets complementing many of this blog's posts. The Twitter feed from Archaeology Magazine provides a nice way to keep track of content on their site. Several projects, including mine, the Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project, Twittered from the field allowing a global audience of interested observers to follow the day-to-day or hour-to-hour working of their project.
A simple search of Twitter for the word archaeology produces hundreds of tweets a day dedicated to a whole range of archaeological topics. At the same time, there are a wide range of lists that draw together like-minded tweeters from across the web. These lists begin to bring together the real power of the Twitter as a social-media platform. Like the blog rolls of old, the creators of these lists compile Twitter feeds which interest them. When a particular feed is included on a list, however, it is marked as being "listed". This allows a user not only to follow a particular feed, but also, to track down and find other similar feeds brought together by Twitter users. Here are the various lists that include the feed for Research News in Late Antiquity and these lists feature the Archaeology Magazine Twitter feed. My Twitter feed only appears on four, lonely, little lists. Despite this obvious snub, these lists remain a great way to track down Twitter feeds that feature content of interest to students of archaeology or the ancient world.
Facebook and other social-media applications have likewise emerged to complement more fully the dynamic "archaeological" blogoshpere. Moreover, it is clear that archaeology will increasingly embrace new media spaces on the web like YouTube (here is PKAP's YouTube channel) or sites that host podcasts (although these are far less technologically challenging to make available through one's own website or blog) Perhaps even more important will be the influence of the next generation of communication applications like Google Wave. Already archaeologists have descended upon Google Wav, even though it remains in alpha (not even beta) testing status, to take advantage of its ability to create threaded discussions, realtime chat, and (eventually) integrate a wide range of media.
In any event, this was my superficial effort to bring together some of the applications and spaces that I rely on every day to stay connected to the archaeological world. I will come back and update this page from time to time over the next few weeks. Maybe I'll even consider writing up a formal article that captures archaeology on the web in 2010.