Went to Podcamp Pittsburgh 11 and Made History

Ah, Podcamp. Each year, I try to put together a panel on different topics based on my current interest.

  • 2010 – I was on a panel about political blogging organized by Bram Reichbaum of The Pittsburgh Comet
  • 2011 – I was on a panel about using social media to good deeds organized by Chris Whitlatch
  • 2012 – I moderated a panel on fairness & accuracy in language with Aria Charles, Tony Norman, Chaz Kellum and Chris Potter
  • 2013 – I co-presented with Jaime Tracktenberg on social media organizing in the LGBTQ community
  • 2014 – I organized a panel with Nina Sauer and Erin Ninehouser Gill about the art of blogging
  • 2015 – Panel discussion on using social media as a community engagement strategy
  • 2016 – Panel discussion on the role of archiving in relation to blogging and other digital content with Megan Massanelli and Justin Laing
  • 2017 – what will I come up with?

This year, the sickness residing in my lungs prevented me from attending much in the way of Podcamp. I’m especially glad that the sessions are recorded and will be available via YouTube in a few months.

This year’s session on archiving was inspired by the AMPLIFY project – Megan and I have been talking all things archiving for months, now and she has taught me so, so much. I had originally had a fuzzy notion in my head about donating the AMPLIFY archives to a historical entity, but it wasn’t a concrete idea. Thanks to Megan, I’ve come to see that there are some serious technical considerations (a blog archive has to have a server/host to be accessible) and that my general blogging on pghlesbian is also archivable. She taught me to consider the “why is my blog history?” question and has started my education on the “how do I archive it?” process.

So I asked her to join me for a panel discussion and reached out to Justin Laing of the Hillombo blog to join us as someone who in his day job, clearly understands the nature of historical preservation, but was a relatively new blogger. Justin was great – he was very willing to talk big picture, but also share his technical experiences even when they weren’t smooth sailing. We actually attempted to have him walk through a backup of his blog prior to the event and use screencaps to explain the process. Instead, we had a solid story about how challenging it can be to even backup your blog if you aren’t immersed in technology.

I’m very intrigued about the plausibility of creating a regional blogging and digital media archive. We have the institutional assets – CMU, Google, Facebook, etc – to support such an effort as well as a series of impressive existing archives such as the Carnegie Library, the Warhol Museum and so much more. I realize it would be a financial bear and require much bigger and brighter minds than mine to make this happen. But a conversation has been started …

I encourage you to join our new Facebook group Your Blog Is History to keep the conversation going. We are recruiting archivists and social media content creators to ask questions, share solutions and ponder the plausibility of it all. You can learn how to set up a personal archive that you hand down to your grandchildren who may think of WordPress like we think of DOS. You can also consider if and how your blog contributes to the historical understanding of Western Pennsylvania in this era (hint: it does!) Megan and her colleague Meaghan have compiled a terrific (and simple) resource guide which is houses in the files section of Facebook.

Meanwhile, like true social media acolytes, both Justin and I snapped, tagged and posted some photos while Megan was talking about the nuts and bolts. I like the imagery here of the archivist as the hub of the conversation; her perspective and skills anchoring the dialogue of the two bloggers.

 

Podcamp Pittsburgh
Justin, Megan and Sue
Photo credits: Justin Laing and Sue Kerr

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