What to do with a blog, when you’re done using it
Over the past month or so, I’ve decided to shutter this blog. I don’t think that I’ll stop blogging, but I’ll probably move to another platform or try to find better way to integrate social media into my daily observations. My reasons for shuttering this blog are not entirely clear to me, but I guess they reflect a combination of things:
1. Now that my tenure portfolio is in the pipeline, I’ve lost the visceral feeling of risk that comes with blogging while an untenured, assistant professor.
2. This blog is unattractive and I do not have the energy to redesign it.
3. I have this vague feeling that a blog should have a life span. I feel like blogs should come to an end at some point or to have some form of organization dictated by time. After all, a blog is a time driven genre or medium. Posts are organized chronologically like its early predecessor “the log”. One of my favorite blogs on the web, Digital History Hacks sits on the web in archive form.
4. I want a new challenge. I think my readership on this blog has pretty much leveled off at a bit more than 100 page views a day. I run close to 1000 page views a week. This far exceeded my original goals for my blog and now that I have reached these goals, I just have this feeling that I should change up what I’m doing, go somewhere new.
5. My other blogs run on WordPress. As dedicated readers of this blog know, I have a few other online projects that generally run on WordPress (Teaching Thursday, Punk Archaeology) and I have come to like the WordPress interface. So maybe I’ll start up this blog again in some fashion on WordPress.
This is not to say that I’m going to stop blogging today or that this is some kind of dramatic farewell post. I’ll keep blogging here until the end of the year.
The bigger issue is what to do with the content here. This blog runs on Typepad. I chose this years ago without much critical thought. It’s a paid blogging service and the service and uptime has been great. The downside is that, when I stop paying, they stop hosting. I am not sure that it’s viable to pull everything on this blog down (images, links, text) and even if I did do this, I am sure that there are dead links throughout that would do very little good. Moreover, I was pretty careless with regard to organizing where supporting files live scattering them over a range of locations on the web with different lifespans and maintenance parameters.
Another alternative is just to grab all the text and put it into a single text file. Typepad does this more or less automatically. With all the mark up, this file runs to about 900 pages of text with full mark up. While this text based archive would obviously lose the actual hyperlinks between posts and to the wider web, it would preserve the mark up for these links making it possible for someone to reconstruct parts of the blog. We have an excellent University Archive here on campus. I think I’ll offer them the text of my blog for their collection. The Internet Archive has captured several snap shots of my blog (January 13, 2008; December 12, 2007; November 10, 2007; October 28, 2007). It’s pretty cool to know that some of my work is in the Internet Archive. Just to be clear, it’s not that I think that my blog is so revolutionary or brilliant that it deserves a place in the history of the internet, but I am enough of a historian to realize that preservation of historical artifacts of all kinds is a voluntary process.
I guess I could also make an effort to import relevant posts to WordPress or whatever service I plan to use in the future, but this seems like a time consuming and painful process.
So, I have a month to figure out what to do. As per usual, any tips, insights, advice, suggestions, and insults are welcome in the comments.