One Does Not Simply…Write About Anthropology

My Time as a Graduate Student

Social Media Project

on May 5, 2013

For Presenting Anthropology Social Media Challenge, I chose to share a personal blog title: One Does Not Simply Write…About Anthropology (name inspired by the Lord of the Rings meme of Boromir). Created on wordpress.com, I used this blog as a way to connect with family and friends to share my experiences of graduate school, research I was doing, and present various topics of interest about anthropology. This blog was also used as an education tool to reach out to a broader audience and educate on various subjects on anthropology to anyone who is interested. My goal was to not only educate about anthropology to those who did not know much about the discipline but to correct any myths about it, or just find out if the information that I had provided was either helpful or innovative.

In addition to my blog, I had it connected with Twitter, my Facebook page, Goodreads, and a page of links to other graduate students blogs and anthropology sites. When I would create and publish a post, it would automatically update on Facebook and Twitter as a link that would direct anyone who was interested to the specific post of the day. With the automatic updates through the use of these two sites I was able to reach out to a wider audience than just those who were anthropologists. A link from my blog site was also connected to Goodreads, where my goal was to share anthropological inspired books that I have read as an undergraduate or graduate student. With the books that I have posted on Goodreads, I gave each book a rating according to my personal interest and I provided a short personal review.

I have tried to make my blog as user friendly as possible by having pages, links, recent posts, tagcloud, and archives on the right side of the blog page. In the About Tina section, I have a brief summary of myself as well as links to my Twitter and Academia.edu site. Anthro Links contains various anthropology site links as well as resources that I have used for past research. Anthropology Research Blogs have links to the blogs and social media projects of the other graduate students in the class. And finally the page of Partners in Literary Crime is a summary of a longer term project that I have been working on in collaboration with two individuals I completed undergraduate studies with and our shared undergraduate mentor mentor.

Each Wednesday I dedicate the time to post a segment called Wordless Wednesday that would feature a single or multiple clips about anthropology as a whole or a topic of anthropology. Most of these videos were funny clips taken from YouTube that mentioned anthropology such as clip with Betty White in the television show Community, stand-up comedy clips, movie trailers, etc. Wordless Wednesdays averaged the most reviews of all my posts. In addition to Wordless Wednesdays, I tried to post on average about 3-4 times a week. Each post includes several tags that would best describe the post and a tagcloud is located on the sidebar of the blog page. Many of posts are about topics of research and anthropology, and a few did get reblogged. A couple of my most popular posts have been on topics about what jobs are available to anthropologists, social media and anthropology, the kids challenge project with the coloring book, history of anthropology, and my primate observation project. I have asked for requests for posting on topics of jobs, personal experiences in graduate school, anthropology books, and what to do to prepare for graduate school. Many of these requests have come from individuals who are on the fence about going to graduate school and are still an undergraduate or individuals who are just interested in the topic of anthropology.

I was really surprised with the amount of views and the amount of followers I gained throughout the semester. WordPress provides stat information of how many views I get in day and from other countries. When I first began this blog, I averaged only a few friends and family who would read. As of April 19, 2013, I have about 379 followers from Facebook, Twitter, and various blog sites from about 39 countries. The counties that visit my blog the most are: the United States (742 views), United Kingdom (34 views), Canada (19 views), Republic of Korea (11 views), New Zealand (10 views), Romania (10 views), Australia (9 views), and Mexico (8 views). Other countries averaged 1-4 views and these countries I never thought would look at my blog like Bangladesh, Ecuador, Belarus, Trinidad, and Croatia[1]. With results like these, it is interesting to think about how wide spread social media can be via the internet.

I am going to be continuing with this blog even after this semester, however I am thinking about making some changes. One update would be to add a day dedicated to anthropological texts that I have found influential in my research and I have used in past classes that could broaden the education of anthropology in addition to the Goodreads link. Posting anthropological texts allows for the public to see that anthropologists study a wide variety of subjects that is not limited to studies of primitive cultures or archaeology. In addition to the anthropological texts, I would like to broaden my topics to include all the subfields – more archaeology and more biological anthropology. At the same time, I believe the public gets lost in the definition of anthropology and leans to more of what has been seen in various forms of media and entertainment – i.e. Indiana Jones or Bones. Finding that balance may be challenging at times, but I would like to keep reminding and educating the public that anthropologists are more than just the characters that are seen on television.

The Social Media project has also made me realized how wide and numerous the social media network really is. Before this project, my exposure was Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and a couple of blogs that belonged to friends. Now I am following a number of anthropology related blogs, my Twitter followers have grown from just 10 friends to 63 individuals and organizations, and I have been networking through my blog with individuals around the world. I would have to say this blog has really made me grown as an anthropologist by not only connecting with other anthropologists, but expressing my thoughts, research, and ideas of anthropology to a wider audience and possibly educating those who do not know a lot about anthropology. I am not too sure how influential my blog and posts have been but I would like to think that it has.

 


[1] All the countries: United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Romania, Australia, Mexico, Czech Republic, Germany, Argentina, India, Netherlands, Columbia, Brazil, Greece, Turkey, Ecuador, Thailand, Philippines, France, Denmark, Singapore, Pakistan, Finland, Haiti, South Africa, Seen, Ukraine, Belarus, Croatia, Liberia, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Trinidad and Tobago, Chile, Kenya, Bangladesh, and Portugal.

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