Friday, May 6, 2011

Whither Go the Boneyard?

We're just about halfway through 2011, so I thought it would be nice to talk about the Boneyard, where it's been, and where it may be headed.

First of all, the hosting schedule for 2011 is complete. That's a good thing. Plenty of new faces have stepped up to host, and hopefully it will bring up submissions.

Second, it's time for me to hand off organizing duties. I will be starting work on my master's degree in graphic design in August, and I simply will not have time to worry about being the Boneyard's custodian. It's not a huge amount of work, but it's something to be remembered each month, and tended to - corresponding with the month's host and sending out submission calls. As is evident from the May edition, when I get really busy, these things slip my mind. Apologies to Taylor for this, as the low submission total was partly my fault.

If you would like to take over organizing the Boneyard, please email me at boneyardblogcarnival(at)gmail(dot)com. We'll hash out the details from there. If no one has the time or energy to do it, the final edition of Boneyard 2.0 will be December 2011. Here's the thing:

That's okay.

It really is! Having done this for most of a year and thought a lot about how carnivals contribute to blog communities, I am absolutely convinced that rather than being a tool to build a small blogosphere, a blog carnival grows out of a blogosphere that is already vigorous and well-connected. The paleo blogosphere simply isn't. It's much smaller than those dedicated to neuroscience or other biological disciplines. Expecting a blog carnival to make it larger and more popular is a bit much to ask. The only thing that will, or ever has, is people generating content readers want. This is something that simply happens on its own, naturally, when there happen to be enough people who want to do it and they have a motivated readership. It's no one's fault. Few of us are getting paid to do this, and even if we are, it's not exactly a living wage.

Anyhow. Here are my tips for the new custodian, if one raises his or her hand.

1. It's supposed to be fun.
2. No blogger is obligated to submit or host. See #1. No pressuring "big time" paleo bloggers to do either.
3. This blog is great to get the word out about the Boneyard, but Twitter is also vital.
4. Expect, and accept, that each month's host will likely have to hand-pick much of the edition's content.
5. Remember the whole "it's supposed to be fun" thing.

Whether the Boneyard continues beyond 2011 or not, I would suggest this to paleo-bloggers who wish to participate in blog carnivals: submit to them.

There are plenty of blog carnivals that, while not being paleo-specific, certainly deal with topics we write about. Go here. Keep track of what's happening. And submit your stuff. This, I believe, will do much more good for the paleo-blog community than the comparatively insular Boneyard.

I admit, I have not submitted posts from Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs to carnivals enough. Or at all, to be honest. I will definitely be doing so in the future, and if you've written something you're proud of that would fit in with another carnival, I encourage you to, as well.

As for the immediate future, don't shy away from submitting to Boneyard 2.10, hosted by Gary and Project Dryptosaurus. And think about Boneyard 2.11, hosted at Laelaps by Brian Switek, who is going with the theme of saber-toothed critters of prehistory.

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