One Does Not Simply…Write About Anthropology

My Time as a Graduate Student

Social Media Project

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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Social Media and Anthropology

283cbaf75d5bb4ac1e6ba4422b9ec14dIn earlier posts and throughout this semester, I have posted about anthropology in the social media and how anthropology can be presented for not only academics but for general public knowledge. I came across this image on Pinterest last night and thought this described the social media world perfectly.

Just a short few years ago, there  was not as many social media outlets on the internet as they are today. We actually had to talk to people face to face, write letters, and there was no texting or at least it cost a lot to text, but we actually had to talk on the phone.

So with anthropology, can we apply anthropological research and knowledge to these social medias? If so, can it be done successfully?

One of things that I have found difficult is not only does the the general public have difficulties understanding what it is that anthropologists do, but what is out there in the internet. For instance, I can type in “anthropology” on Pinterest and what gets brought up are products from the Anthropologie clothing store because people spell it wrong when pinning. This happens with a lot of social media sites, so what can be done? Unfortunately it is like teaching children, we must keep repeating until the concept sticks. Using various social medias avenues can be useful in just getting the information out there. Most of learning and knowledge comes from television, movies, and the internet. Many people will look up a topic on Wikipedia and claim that they know everything there is to know on that subject, because it is there. Also, the general public doesn’t take the time to read and research, they want to know the answers at that every moment and what better way to find those answers is via interwebs.

Social media is expanding and does not seem to be slowing down any, unless Skynet takes over and crashes the system and then the world will be taken over by robots. In seriousness, it is not going to slow down. If anthropology wants to be known in a wider audience  anthropologists should be adding social media to their artillery as well as learning, using, and keeping up with various social media.

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Anthropology in Social Media

It has only been two classes in the pro-seminar of Presenting Anthropology and it has really opened my eyes to all the different types of social media that is out there now. It has only been recently that all these types of communication has come into existence and I have been proven that I am behind on the times. But it is inevitable that everything in the world has or will become part of the digital world, mainly the way we as human communicate and there is no stopping it. Unless Skynet takes over and then we are all screwed.

As many academics know, the public know very little about anthropology other than what they have gathered from Indiana Jones, Tomb Raider, or Bones. Both not the highly of accurate sources, but at least anthropology is knew if it very little.

As a project for the course, we are to explore various social medias that could present or be useful for anthropology and for our personal research. As a way of reaching out to the public to educate and gather information. And with that I have not only created this blog but I also set up a Twitter and Academia.edu site.  As I have stated before in older posts, that I created this blog to just talk about various subjects within Anthropology and my studies as a grad student, but I am also using it to talk about my research and what I am working on towards my thesis, and hopefully get some feedback.

I may add some links later on to some other Anthropology sites that are both interesting and I think would be helpful.

You can follow me on Twitter @anthrogeek_tina

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