How to Use Your Blog as a Historical Archive :: Part 1

Scott Fillmer Blog Why do you have a blog?  Does your blog serve any useful purpose?  Some don't, just thought I would ask.  If it doesn't, perhaps it should.  If it doesn't, and it shouldn't, then why exactly does it exist in the first place?    Sometimes I go back and forth in my mind with my intended purpose and usefulness.  When you ask those questions, just go back and think about what you want to accomplish with your blog, or what direction you might take it from this point forward.

Your Blog is a Historical Archive of Your.... Something

My blog serves many purposes to me but I like to use my blog for my own personal historical archive, goal checker and to examine my own growth, or lack there of, over the course of a given time frame.  My blog actually goes back to March 2001, and encompasses just about everything that happened in my life, and my wife's life in that time frame (scary huh).  This doesn't always work so well if you only post to your blog once a month, but if you are using your blog actively, you can look back to a previous year and see where you were, what you were doing, and what your goals or purpose might have been at that point and see where you have come since then.

Of course, this works the same with photography as well.  Both are archival and historical tools.  I can look back at some of the photo I took a year ago and see what was important enough to shoot, where I was, and so on.  Same with my blog.  I went back to November 2007 and just flipped through some of the entries and they are totally different from my blog posts now, but they were where I was 12 months ago.

Looking Back at November 2007

Sometimes it is just a humorous way to look at your life.  Some of note to myself from November 2007... Home Invasion or a Plague of the Ladybugs Has Arrived, I remember well, we have thousands and thousands of lady bugs all over the place. I was also completely irritated with the trend of not replying to email, and my annoyance to not getting replies to my own emails (not much has changed), so I wrote Steps to Improve Customer Service by Answering Your Email, and one of my personal favorites from that month What Would You Do With an $86,400 Gift?.  I also started a blog called Damascus in November, which is now integrated into this blog, and I wrote a lot of boring entries.

I also wrote a lot more posts about how to improve your blog by using SEO effectively and posted almost no photos of my own work other than a few work related pics, and there is a good reason for that, I didn't do much photography in November of 2007, apparently.  I have a few pics of Deb, and then this photo of my short stint with Blackberry before I dumped it for my iPhone.  Not sure what the significance is of the phone being between Auburn/Opelika and Montgomery but that was about it photographically speaking.

The photo does serve as a historical reference, for me.  It shows the date and time right on the phone.  It also reminds me how much I couldn't stand that phone, but it is more than that, it does give me the ability to look back and see where I was in my life.

How to Use Your Blog for a Historical Archive

Everyone uses a blog in a different way... a few ways to use it for historical purposes...

  1. Post as frequently as you can.  Even if it ends up being just a few times a week.  The more data you have, the more accurate the information usually is, so the more frequent you post, the better idea you will have of what happened in that time period.  Just posting 3 times a week gives you 152 posts in a year!
  2. Write (or shoot photos) with detail.  The more detail the better.  Most things will be easily forgotten within a few weeks.  It is the small details of life we generally forget unless we write them down.
  3. Get personal.  I am bad at this one, but if you feel comfortable on your blog, get as personal as you can and forget that you are talking to potentially millions of readers.
  4. Use photos as much as possible.  Nothing sparks the memory like a photo (just ask any photographer, haha).  You will be able to remember so much more with a photo, so even if they are not your best, post them anyway.
  5. Link to other blogs, articles, people, friends or other interests.  Linking to other areas outside your blog really helps remind you of what was going on at the time.
  6. Backup your blog or journal.  If you are going to be able to look back at the information you need to have the information, so back up back up back up.  There are several wordpress widgets and other plugins that make this easy.
  7. If you don't have a blog and don't want one, write in a journal. If you don't have a blog, get one if you want one.  They are EASY EASY EASY to setup and run now.  They are free, and you don't have to know anything about computers to use one.  A blog is just a journal that others can read.  If you don't want others to read your blog, just write in a journal program or make your blog private.  There are many times you will write things down if you know others will never read it, but you have to write it down some how.
  8. Look back.  You actually have to look back at the information to make it useful as an archive.  Look back often as often as you can, but look back at what you wrote.
  9. Post comments on other blogs.  Comments are archived by many different systems and you can look back at comments just like you can blog posts of your own.  Commenting on other blogs is beneficial in so many ways, but looking back it will tell you what you read and found interesting enough to comment on in the first place.
  10. Have fun.  If it isn't somewhat fun then just forget it.  That should always be in there somewhere, to me.

What do you think?  What do you use your blog for?