We Are Not What They Think We Are

Communicating the Archaeological Profession Online

For two years, almost all of my mornings have been starting with the alarm clock sound, a good cup of coffee, the Windows’ starting jingle and the trill of Facebook and Twitter notifications.

The strange thing is that I’m not affected by a social media addiction.

What is even more strange, it is that I’m unemployed.

Ever since I graduated in Archaeology – long ago, actually – I’ve always found it extremely difficult to explain to my friends and family what I could do as a job.
Not theoretically – more or less everyone had understood that. But practically.

In those moments, I realized that no one really knew what an archaeologist does.
Why? Because no one had ever explained it to them.
The answer was so simple that I was almost disoriented.

So I spent several hours on the Internet to look for someone or something in Italy which was writing about Archaeology and Communication, archaeological dissemination or talking about the archaeological profession.

At the end of the day, the results could be counted on the fingers of one hand.

photo credit: crises_crs via photopin cc

photo credit: crises_crs via photopin cc

After this, things have happened pretty quickly: I applied for a Master in Communication and New Media, they accepted my request for a scholarship, I started a blog and I decided that I would try to transform archaeological communication into my profession.

So – for two years – I’ve been getting up every morning with a mission: raise awareness and communicate.
Fortunately, along the way to achieve these goals, I have met many people who believe in the same principles: they believe we can change the piece of world in which we decided to operate and they want to do it using the communication tools that digital age made available to us.

All of my days mainly revolve around the goal of raising awareness in the use of social networks and online communication for the dissemination of cultural content. Not only by the institutions and museums, but also by professionals and private companies.

If our public does not consider the work of archaeologists to be relevant, it is because we have failed to communicate the value we bring to history, to society and to the global knowledge with our work.

Through researches and studies (online and offline), I try to spread and share the best case histories and best practices scattered around the world. The collaboration with #svegliamuseo helps me a lot in that: through the community and interviews, we bring out the national and international excellence in the use of social media and online tools.

The second focal point of my days are communication techniques. Writing on the web it’s not just waking up a morning and suddenly write effective and appropriate content: it is necessary to study, to try, to make mistakes and to try again.

So I am gaining as much knowledge as possible through the study of every single topic that deals with communication: from marketing to advertising, from politics to information, from PR to business writing. I do a selective study and share principles and techniques exportable in the field of Archaeology Studies via social media.

For example, the technique I fell in love with is the digital storytelling. I think there is no better tool for museums to change perspective and perception, to change the role they have in society and to change the value they have for people.

And I think that archaeologists should follow the same path.

We have to be present where our audiences are now, we have to tell to audiences what archaeologists do, why they do it and with what results for them: only in this way our work will become and be perceived by people not only as culturally relevant but also as socially relevant.

At this point of my days I am seized with an incredible headache for having spent too many hours reading on a screen, but I am usually satisfied with the results. And after all there is no headache that a good cup of tea cannot calm down.