This month’s Blogging Archaeology session topic is a particularly interesting one. The general idea is this: reflect on what you consider you best post(s) and why that is. Also, think about what others might think is your best post however you want to measure that (views? comments? etc.). Some of the suggested criteria for answering this question included:
- Most viewed -single day?, week? month? year? all time- I leave it up to you
- Most individual views
- Most diverse audiance
- Facebook likes
- Most viral (however you define viral)
- Most Tweets
I hadn’t considered previously whether or not any of my posts could be called my ‘best’ or ‘worst’ post, but when I read this month’s blog prompt, I knew immediately which one I wanted to discuss. I suppose my criteria for determining what I would call my ‘best’ post is a combination of social media success, page visits on the day the post was published, recognition, and personal satisfaction. Bloggers (especially WordPress bloggers) have the opportunity to monitor so many different channels for referrals, page views, search terms and audience statistics. The post I want to discuss stands up to all of those categories, and in order to discuss this post, we have to go back in time just a little bit.
In the summer of 2012, I spent several weeks in Ireland, taking a course called “Death, Memory, and Monuments in Irish History and Culture” at NUI Maynooth. This was through the College at Brockport Study Abroad department, and proved to be a fabulous course – we explored all ranges of cemeteries, cathedrals, historic monuments and ancient sites across Ireland, considering the variety in the commemoration of death and its related architectural forms. One of our stops while touring Dublin was the National Museum of Ireland (Archaeology). Having always been fascinated by the taphonomic phenomenon that is the bog body, I was thrilled to see the museum’s display of these remains.
When I returned home that summer, I wrote a blog post on my former Blogspot blog (surprisingly, also called Imponderabilia). While this blog isn’t live any more, there is still a lot of cool material up there, if you’re interested in checking it out. In any case, I blogged about my exciting experience at the museum, and explored the history and taphonomic processes surrounding the bog bodies, comparing the specimens I had visited to other such remains from around Ireland. (You can view the original post here).
So here’s why I consider this relatively normal post to be in consideration for my best. Sure, the post was a good resource for anyone looking to find out more information about the Irish bog bodies, and sure, there were some pretty cool photographs that I took at the museum, if I do say so myself. But my archaeological nerdiness really went through the roof when I got an email from the National Museum of Ireland’s PR person, asking if they could share my blog post. Of course, I was thrilled to let them do so. Great exposure for my blog, and a testimonial to the cool-ness of the bog bodies exhibit for the museum! So, NMI tweeted my blog, shared it on their Facebook page, and posted a link to it on their website. I was understandably excited, and re-shared and re-tweeted it all like a maniac.
But needless to say, it brought excellent exposure to my blog, boosting my page views for that afternoon to 600 in the span of a few hours (which for me, was pretty darn good). I was really pleased when it came to the number of times my post was shared. Especially the Facebook shares – totally blew me away. It’s pretty awesome to see that so many people were interested in the topic that I was blogging about!
Aside from the views and shares that my blog post received from the NMI publicity, it was also chosen as an Editor’s Pick on this great site called Paperblog, which pulls content from participating bloggers and organizes posts into a magazine-like format. This brought in hundred’s more views for my post, making it undeniably my most viewed post to date.
The post received further attention when earlier this year, the Cashel Man (who starred in my original post) was declared the oldest bog body in Europe – a pretty significant discovery, which I saw as an opportunity to further explore his history, and re-share my bog bodies post (which was then shared again by NMI).
This blog stood out from the milieu of Imponderabilia material in the sense that it received a lot more attention from both the blogging community, social media users and general search-term traffic. Bloggers should definitely take pride in their writing when it is noticed
and legitimately put to use by enthusiasts, public historians, and even just interested readers looking for more information about a particular topic. This month’s blogging archaeology session made my reexamine this particular post, and also kind of reminded me why I love blogging so much. It’s not just about the thrill of getting tons of page views and Facebook shares – but it’s about creating sharable content and research-worthy material that can actually be used, enjoyed and expanded upon by the digital community that consumes it.
Want more info?
– Original Bog Bodies post on Old Imponderabilia
– Bog Bodies post on Current Imponderabilia
–Bog Body Discovery article on Irish Times
–National Museum of Ireland (Archaeology)
–BBC News Bog Bodies
–National Museum Bog Bodies page
–Bog Bodies article on Archaeology Magazine site
– Cashel Man Declared Oldest Bog Body in Europe