Polly digs… social media

Polly digsWelcome to our blog series ‘Polly digs…’ , in which we chart the highs and lows of DigVentures’ own social media and community intern on her mission to find a job in archaeology!

Hi there! My name is Polly, and I am DigVentures’ communities and social media intern. I’m currently wading through archaeological career paths with Joe Flatman’s book Becoming an Archaeologist as my bible! I intend to keep track of all the experiences I’m going to face looking for life after university here in the Site Hut. Wish me luck!

June 17th 2013: the stats
Paid jobs: 1 part time (plus part time trial for possible other job)
Volunteering jobs: 2


It’s no secret that I dig social media. But what place does it have in our lives, in archaeology and more importantly, in this week’s blog? For those of you interested in my role at DigVentures and my views on why the role of social media is important, read on…

PicMonkey Collage

First things first, social media should be just that, a place where you can be social. That is what makes platforms like Facebook and Twitter so popular – you can connect with people from all around the world who have the same interests as you. You can meet new friends, hear all the latest news and gossip, have conversations and debates and join groups and clubs. It is somewhere to have fun and share interesting content and increasingly, a place to find out the latest news from all around the world. It’s like a massive party where everyone is invited, and as long as you avoid the nutters, you can have a great time.

So how does this relate to archaeology? Archaeology may not be as up to date with social media platforms as other professions such as journalism, music and film, but for those who do decide to connect in this way, there are so many opportunities. As a personal user you can tweet other archaeologists, see upcoming events and digs on Facebook, look at pictures of finds coming out of the ground on flickr, have a good old debate in the forums and read opinions on websites and blogs. In a professional way it can be used as a way of public engagement, marketing or setting up commercial business. Each different scenario can use social media in a different way because there are so many platforms and it can be so flexible. When using social media, therefore, you need to keep in mind why you are using it, who will be responding to it and what the benefits will be. For instance, with the success of Time Team and the disappointment from many in it’s ending, YouTube has the potential be a platform of choice for many archaeologists. This way you can watch videos of archaeological work being done and meet the teams behind them.

Archaeology can also benefit from social media in a unique way, as proved by DigVentures.The bringing together of like-minded people, can result in actual physical work being done in the form of crowdfunded and crowdsourced digs. These digs then provide more online content in the form of videos, pictures, blogs and conversations with followers around the world. In this kind of symbiotic relationship with real people with real interests, social media can really thrive. Social media is a real way for communities to connect with their own audience – be that potential funders, museum goers or other professionals.

On the other hand, there are always going to be people who don’t use social media, especially within a subject area such as archaeology. It won’t work for everyone as not everyone carries smart phones around with them every day or has a twitter handle. That is not a problem, archaeology has a long tradition of connecting with people in other ways such as conferences, academic journals and magazines. And I don’t think social media will ever replace books or journals as a way of recording the past.  Instead, I think people use social media in a different way, a way of instant connection and communication.

Social media has a place in this blog because, for starters it was through Facebook that I first heard about my internship at DigVentures – it is what lead me here! And since then it has been the perfect medium for sharing my internship journey with you guys. This has meant meeting all you amazing Venturers out there, reading all your comments and tweets, documenting fun times with DigVenturers and blogging about looking for jobs. I would personally argue that social media has a role to play for people looking to get into archaeology as a career. By getting my name out into this wider community I have had people approach me with information about talks, events, new things to look at, and even new job opportunities (more on my exciting new job news next time!). LinkedIn is a great platform for job hunting because ti allows you to upload your CV, endorse other people’s skills, write references, connect with colleagues and follow companies you are interested in joining so you can be the first to know about job vacancies. Aside from LinkedIn, twitter is a great way to connect with other people going through the same process and get advice. And often job vacancies will be posted on Twitter and Facebook as well as a company’s personal website, so keep your eyes peeled! Some great blogs and websites for job vacancies are: BAJR jobsMuseum Jobs, Guardian jobs, University of Leicester Jobs Desk, Arts jobs and the Museum Association jobs.

So, if you are looking to get into archaeology – don’t dismiss social media. It can be a powerful tool at your fingertips.

Follow Polly on twitter: @ArchPolly

Are you going through the same thing? Or, do you remember the days when this was you? Get in touch with Polly  and share your experiences, send encouragement and suggestions, and of course – job opportunities…

Comments are open at the bottom of the post, or you can send her a message

DigVentures is digging this summer – join our adventure here!

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Written by Polly Heffer

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