It always seems the best way to develop something new is to investigate the old, but maybe that is because I am an archaeologist.
My goal this week was to set up our social media and develop ways to measure the success of public outreach through social media. Over the past few years, archaeology as a discipline has had an increasing focus on social media as an outlet for interactions with other archaeologists and the public. I, personally, have had a large focus on social media as influenced by my mentors and peers. I have found it to be a rich avenue for networking and researching. It not only allows you the ability to reach a broader audience but also creates an informal platform for interaction. A quick post of an unknown artifact often returns you multiple suggestions and leads as to its function. In turn, this can also help a budding archaeologist create contacts within the field. In archaeology this can be very important, especially during the summer months, as mentors and advisers can be spread all over the world.
So that is my short rant on the importance of social media in archaeology. The question now is how can I as an archaeologist measure my social media impact. I will warn you now that this is a summer-long venture and the answer is not contained in this blog. My start to the investigation, however, is.
After setting up our sites I was driven by one question (inspired by Lorna Richardson’s talk “Doing Archaeology in the Public Age” which can be veiwed here):
HOW DO I WANT MY AUDIENCE TO INTERACT?
Without knowing the answer to this question, metrics given by websites such as likes, pingbacks, click-throughs are essentially useless.
What do I as an archaeologist, as one part of a team of archaeologists, want the public to take from our posts? My answer was this: I want to see a increased awareness of Cultural Investment in my audience.
So these are my goals in working with social media in archaeology this summer. I want to see an increased audience (likes, followers, readers) that is interested in our collections (as displayed by shares, pingbacks, mentions) and that wants to know more (comments, conversations, event RSVPS).
I will keep you guys updated as I go along. Any and all input is encouraged.
2013. 5 Social Media Metrics that your Business Should be Tracking. The Next Web. accessed 5/21/2014
2014. Doing Archaeology in the Public Age. Digital Public Archaeology. accessed 5/23/2014.
Promoting Archaeology Online by Kaitlin Scharra is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.