Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Reopening the Boneyard!

Some good news! I'm pleased to announce that Brian Switek has given me his blessing to resume the Boneyard Blog Carnival, which he began just over three years ago in his pre-ScienceBlog days. I've gone through a good portion of the archives. If you're not familiar with the Boneyard, or the concept of blog carnivals, a quick click on that link will bring you up to speed. Basically, it's a fun way to share recent posts around the paleo/ natural history blog community. The blog carnival happened before I was hip to the existence of said community, and I can see why there's a desire to bring it back. I'm sure it will be just as much fun as before. The writing accompanying the links is sometimes just as fun as the links themselves.

Here's the thing: I will need some help spreading the word about this. I'd love to get a broad selection of blogs contributing to the Boneyard. Scratch that. The Boneyard needs that kind of participation. Otherwise, it's just a link roundup. So, those of you who are bloggers, spread the word to other bloggers. Just because I write one doesn't mean that I'm looking for only dinosaur blogs, naturally. Any topic of natural history is fair game. It's all the same thing, after all, and it's the only way all of these disparate sciences have any meaning. So please, spread the word via blogs, email, tweets, snorts, chirps, burps, morse code, comic strips, or cryptic haikus written on bathroom walls. Run into Uncle Horace, who you haven't seen in a few years? Tell him about the Boneyard. Tag boxcars. Let's get a good group of bloggers sending in posts, veterans and newer voices.

The secret here is the revolving host model. It's what keeps things fresh, as new folks host each month. Ideally, this exposes the blogs listed in each Boneyard to new readers, and incites new bloggers to contribute. I'll go ahead and kick things off, and I invite anyone willing and able to host the next one. I will be setting up a blog dedicated to "Boneyard 2.0," which will serve the same function as the one Brian used in the past. Probably an email addy, as well. I'll announce the final details and call for submissions when I get everything sorted.

Important: This will be a trial run at first. If there isn't a decent level of interest, I think we'll have to accept that it's not meant to be, and move on to other ways of helping the community grow. Once, in a conversation at a party, a dude told me that something I said would be "a great community-building exercise." It seemed a little wack-a-doodle, but here I am. Suggesting the same thing. Let's get our bone on.

Whoa, that was unfortunate. Better move on to a couple ofther networking items:

Aggregators
I haven't yet been able to dig into Pipes, or research any other aggregators. It was an idea floated in the comments of this recent post, a way to package posts of relevant blogs. I'm not sure when I will have an opportunity to really figure this out - I'm putting together grad school apps and finishing some freelance design work right now, so time is precious. If anyone wants to pursue it, please go right ahead! Another big project I need to tackle is going back through the last year of posts and retagging them. I've only recently realized how valuable tags can be when used correctly. I haven't used them correctly.

Twitter
In other news, as a way to better locate like-minded folks on Twitter, I've also started a Paleontology page at Twibes.com. If you're not familiar with Twibes, it's a site that allows tweeters to find each other, which can be difficult on Twitter itself. I joined the Science Communication twibe, which seems pretty active and well-populated, and when I saw there was nothing related to paleontology, I figured it was worth a shot. We'll see how it goes. There are probably other similar sites, but it can be exhausting, wading through the SEO marketing lingo. I'll be sure to mention if I find anything else of use.

UPDATE
Please head to the Boneyard's dedicated site for updated and information on how to pitch in.

4 comments:

  1. I'll get with the word-spreading! Thanks for rebooting the Boneyard, brother! I'm excited.

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  2. David - I'll have a post up in the morning, and send e-mails out to everyone I know. Kudos for getting the ball rolling on this one. I get the feeling there will be a substantial amount of interest.

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  3. I'll try to do my part, but I don't know how much help I'll be. I have few followers, and most of them probably follow this blog. Also, most of my other friends don't have blogs of their own, so what good is it informing them?

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  4. Thanks for the comments, guys. I really hope we get a good, vibrant blog carnival going.

    Ian - No pressure. It would be great if you wanted to host an edition of the carnival some time. I want to make sure anyone can participate, regardless of their number of followers, frequency of posting, etc. The main thing is to create more connections between bloggers, from relative noobs like me to "old-timers" (which is a funny term to use when discussing a new media form like blogs). I know there are a good number of bloggers out there who may not know about my rinky-dink operation here, so that's my first concern. Blog readers will benefit once the carnival picks up steam and they get exposed to posts they may not have found otherwise.

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