On September 12th, 2012, I decided to act on an idea I had been reflecting upon for a long time: creating a blog where I could share my anthropological reflexions on all the geek things I love and geek culture itself. I explained my intention in my very first post, The Geek Anthropologist: What and Why?
My project was humble. I had no blogging skills, barely knew what the anthropology blogging scene was like, and rarely used social media.
One of the first things I learned when I started blogging is that it demands a lot of work.
Especially if one wants to do it well. There are many things to consider: the frequency of posting, the visual layout of the blog, the visual aspect of posts themselves, connecting with readers on different platforms, respecting copyright laws, backing up the contents of the blog, etc. and etc. and etc.
Luckily for me, WordPress.com is accessible to the newbiest of newbies and is powered by people who have a strong sense of community and cooperation. Using the forums and the support page, I found answers to my questions and solutions to my problems. Whenever I needed feedback from other bloggers, I headed to the Community Pool.
As is the cases with many other things, when blogging, there is always more to learn.
Recently, I was happy to partake in Blogging 101 and Blogging 201, online classes provided by the team of The Daily Post. In August, I attended WordCamp Montreal where I learned a great many new things and met wonderful people. WordCamp events are held in many areas of the world and bring together bloggers and web developers.
I read about writing and blogging, but I also consult several great blogs in order to find inspiration and improve my own skills. Although I blog mostly on The Geek Anthropologist, blogs which are completely unrelated to either anthropology of geek culture have been highly inspirational for me. Colossal, DESIGN LOVE FEST and Aunt Peaches are some of these.
Starting a blog while working on my master’s degree was perhaps not the most logical decision.
It took a lot of time and effort to make TGA what it is now. I now realize the goals I had set for myself when I started out were unrealistic. Rome wasn’t built in one day, neither were the great anthro blogs of this world. I still have a lot to learn and wish to continue improving The Geek Anthropologist with my colleagues who contribute to the blog, help manage and edit it.
Yet I am already immensely proud and happy of what has been achieved so far on TGA. The blog has become a group effort, a community of anthropologists who share a passion for the study of geek culture and geeky things. Nicholas Mizer and I have already co-chaired a panel at the 2013 meeting of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) and we hope to repeat this initiative at future AAA meetings or other conferences. My colleagues and I are working on papers for peer-reviewed journals, submitting proposals for a symposium, and have started blogging on other platforms. Our work was featured on startrek.com on a few occasions. (See The Study of Humanity and A Study of Geek Girls)
We may not have hit the 100 000 views yet (just over 59 000), but our posts are increasingly popular and we gain new followers at a steady pace. The blog was featured on Freshly Pressed, curated by WordPress editors, twice, and twice thanks to pieces by Emma L. Backe. Her very first piece on TGA, Confessions of an Anthropological Geek, was noticed by WordPress curators and so was her more recent Something Wicked This Way Comes: Witches and Modern Women.
We’ve blogged about gaming, the fake geek girl debate, advice for students and science-fiction, among other things. Interestingly, the most popular post on the blog, by far, is one I wrote one week after creating the blog: Geeks and Nerds: A Terminological Debate. But every time a new post comes up on the blog, we attract more new readers and connect with other anthropologists, geeks, and geeky anthropologists who join the conversation and, occasionally, join our team!
So life is pretty good at TGA.
Not to mention that I have learned crazy skills and met wonderful colleagues while anthro blogging. The experience I have gained is definitely a plus on my CV and motivates me a great deal.
So in case you are an anthropology student, a professor or researcher with long years of experience, I absolutely recomment blogging. And if you investigate geek culture, remember that we are always looking for contributors at TGA!
The wonderful images used in this post were found in the Creative Commons on Flickr. The header image was created using Balloons Make You Happy, by Tim Hamilton. The second photo, Birthday Cake, is by Eliza Adam.