One of the many learning experiences that we had during the AERA field school was being taught how to use social media effectively. Our lecturers Sara Perry, Andy Henderson and Rebekah Miracle explained the importance of social media. They highlighted how it can help bring awareness to an archaeological site, both amongst the local community and the wider world.
At first these concepts were difficult for us to understand. However, as we began to study the different types of social media available such as Twitter, blogs and Facebook, the importance of using these tools became clear.
We began preparing our posts about Memphis using Twitter and Facebook and our lecturers helped us to understand the key components that make up a meaningful social media post. For example, a social media post should have an interesting topic, be understood by non-archaeological audiences and engage the reader.
Students present about social media during a lecture about websites.
We also began to create a website for Memphis, and with the help of our instructors we designed the content that would be available on each page. We collected data on Memphis and its sites, uncovering interesting photos and facts about this lost city. These ranged from providing fascinating insights into the local community and its palm crafts to discussing the beautiful temples at Memphis.
The students tour the sites of Memphis, collecting data.
The process of developing these various media was a positive experience for everybody and we want to share with you some of our thoughts. Our colleague Fatma described how she was afraid of expressing her opinion in front of people, but that by using social media it became easier for her to interact with a wider audience. She now says that she understands the value of social media within archaeology.
Another one of our colleagues, Sara, says that she was happy to have learned how to make suitable abbreviations for sentences, allowing her to deliver information in a concise and attractive way. Our colleague Islam agreed with this, explaining he had learned how to create engaging posts. Finally, Reham said that she discovered how to make archaeology and scientific subjects amusing and interesting for the wider public.
It was truly a great experience for everyone and we are so happy that we succeeded in creating a variety of interesting and engaging media posts.