#BlogArch, Anglo-Saxon, Archaeology, Blogging Archaeology, Blogging carnival, Blogging the past, Britain, Digital archaeology, Does anyone even look at tags?, PhD, Public engagement, Reflection, Review, Statistics
So it turns out I missed my own blog’s first birthday. This is why I should never have children.
I gave birth to Darkage-ology a little over a year ago. 367 days, to be precise. My blogging debut was a response to the age-old question: how dark were the Dark Ages? Whilst I did not really get to the bottom of the matter in a mere five hundred words I dare say the post was at least vaguely successful. According to the statistics on WordPress it is my sixth-most viewed post and I managed to get a handful of followers from it. Not a bad start, I suppose.
Fast forward to the present and this post marks my thirty-ninth contribution to the blog. This has not quite been the once a week schedule I had hoped for, granted, but I still feel it to be a reasonable achievement. It works out about 0.75 posts a week but you have to remember that I lived in a field for quite a lot of the summer. Some bloggers are infinitely more productive that I could ever hope to be, though. Doug over at Doug’s Archaeology often manages three or four posts a week, for example. Christ knows how he does it.
I get a sense that the blog has made a somewhat useful contribution to internet archaeology. Some of the comments have been genuinely positive and as long as even one person has learned something about the past then I am a happy man. The eighty-four subscribers can’t all be my mum, surely.
In any case, the blog has certainly enriched my personal life. As a direct consequence of writing it I have made the acquaintance of a surprisingly large number of interesting people. From an academic perspective I have made about ten new professional contacts, many I might otherwise have never had the pleasure of meeting.
I started the blog looking to present information about the past in an easy to understand and mildly amusing manner, but I never expected it to be successful. As of today, 6,676 people have visited the blog. To put that into an unhelpful and obscure context, that is almost as the same as the population of a rather pleasant looking town called Warrenpoint in Northern Ireland. With a few exceptions, I seem to consistently average around five hundred views a month. That is simply more than I ever imagined.
Perhaps a little unsurprisingly, the majority of my readers reside in Europe and North America. People have accessed the blog from across the globe, though. In fact, I have had readers from countries I did not even know existed. Such is the beauty of the World Wide Web, I suppose.
Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ve hit Antarctica yet.
I am particularly grateful to the people who have linked back to me at various points. A particularly memorable one was Vox Hiberionacum’s tweet. Darkage-ology had been going for a mere month or so and this veteran blogger had singled mine out as worthy of people’s time. It was, in effect, my induction into the archaeological blogosphere, and it felt great.
In terms of visits, my most successful post was Archaeological Reconstruction with EQN Landmark. This one has had 1,399 hits, although most of those were because the lead developer of the game retweeted me. A similarly well subscribed post was The Anglo-Saxon World Cup?, and it was this post that taught me just how many people use Reddit. It is quite interesting that some of my favourite posts have had very few visits whilst others I thought to be sub-standard have been received well. For example, Blogging is Liberating and The Day of Archaeology are two of my least viewed pieces but I absolutely loved writing them.
Probably the most rewarding aspect of a year’s worth of blog writing was taking part in the Blogging Archaeology Carnival. It really opened my eyes to how engaged and friendly other archaeological bloggers were and I even got a paper in the Blogging Archaeology e-book out of it. And it seems to be doing okay for itself; Flinders University lists it in the reading list for their Introduction to Professional Archaeology module!
The full text of the book can be found here.
So my first year of Darkage-ology has been a pretty good one. I’ve really enjoyed writing it and I hope people have enjoyed reading it. I really do hope that it continues for quite some time. If you’re reading this – whoever you are – I’d like to thank you.
You are all awesome.