Reflecting on museumgeek’s first three months

This blog has now been running for just shy of three months. In that time, I’ve written 31 posts, and received double that many comments (yep – you’re starting to talk back, which is awesome). Within a day or two, I should hit 2500 views, which is significantly more than I imagined I would have at the start (and even more surprising because my Mum has only read the site once – so it’s not just her!). I’ve been shocked (and excited) to find people responding to my ideas by writing entire posts of their own (and here), and have been honoured to discover my site listed in blogrolls of people whom I respect.

With all this, museumgeek has thoroughly exceeded my expectations.

What has surprised me is finding out the posts that get the most reads and reactions. When I started blogging, I thought I’d post a fair bit about technical innovation in museums. After all, that’s what the people whose blogs I read write about, and they’re always interesting to me.

What I quickly learned however is that the difference between those bloggers and me is that I’m not actually a tech geek. I might love technology and enjoy seeing the technological advances taking place in museums, but I have neither the background nor the mindset needed in order to best exploit the possibilities of technology.

Instead, it’s my more philosophical posts like Museum objects and complexity, Visualising the museum collectionWho owns the virtual space in your museum? and Who are you collecting for? that have drawn the greatest interest. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised by this… museums are inextricably linked with philosophy, and my own bent of inquiry leans towards the existential. I probably write more passionately on these issues than on other things. Despite this, I didn’t expect that these would be the posts that would inspire the greatest response.

So there is that. In the last few days, this feedback has led me to start reconsidering the approach I was intending to take in my PhD. Although I need to discuss this with my supervisor, I’m starting to think that my research should be a philosophical inquiry, rather than a strictly “scientific” one. This is probably a silly idea… It will involve far more work, and be a lot harder. But I also think it will be a very interesting approach, and will certainly push me to look deeply into the issues. Hmm. I’ll keep you posted on this idea once I talk to my supervisor…

On a personal level, I’ve discovered that blogging is a lot of work, but very enjoyable. My writing muscles are growing stronger from regular use, and writer’s block is far less tyrannical than it was. Writing for an audience is great for helping me clarify my thoughts – although I still get scared every time I hit the “publish” button in case I’ve said something really stupid… although even if I do, hopefully you guys will take me to task for it so I can learn something new as a result.

In the mean time, thanks for reading and being part of my first three months!

2 thoughts on “Reflecting on museumgeek’s first three months

  1. Hi Susan! I’m happy to read you enjoy blogging. I think I speak on behalf of many of your readers when I say your voice is a fresh one in museum discussions.

    I also find that my more philosophical posts get more comments, retweets (and invitations to speak at conferences). Yet, I believe that’s not necessarily because these are better posts, but because it’s easier to react to them. Even though I will not react to a tech post that often, I very much enjoy reading them. Please do not stop writing about that, please!:-)

    I hope to read much more by you. As a thank you for now, one of the best TED talks of last week (which has nothing to do with museums (or does it?), but is very beautiful):

    1. Cheers Jasper. I think you are right about why the philosophical posts get a greater response. I think one reason that’s been such a revelation to me is because I love having these conversations and thinking about the issues in the ‘real’ world, but only rarely come across others who feel the same. Hence when I started blogging, I thought the reaction would be the same – that those would be my more self-indulgent posts, and people would tune out to them. I think that’s why I’ve been so surprised (but pleasantly so) to find I’m not the only one thinking about these things.

      But don’t worry… museumgeek could never be all philosophy all the time. These sorts of discussions only have meaning if they are grounded in and reflect what’s actually happening in the world. And since I’m not a tech geek, I probably have to work a little harder to try to understand that side of things – and I always find committing to write about something means that I have to “get it” first.

      Thanks for reading Jasper! And for the TED talk… I’ll go watch it now.

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