Yesterday I tweeted a question, as one does, to see what would come of it: what to do next with the #historycarnival?
It brought an immediate offer from Katrina Gulliver to host an edition (for which I’m grateful), so in the short term it worked. (Clearly, I should have thought of it earlier.) It’s also generated an interesting suggestion and one response asking what I meant. That I can’t do in 140 characters, so I’m going to have a go here.
The History Carnival has been having periodic crises for pretty much as long as it has existed. If you’ve read here for any length of time you’ve read me moaning and asking, what’s the point?, at some stage (quite apart from arm-twisting/begging emails behind the scenes), and you’ve often responded brilliantly. But this time I wonder if it goes deeper.
There was a good deal of comment a couple of months ago about how the blogosphere has changed in recent years, including an argument that bloggers don’t link to each other anywhere near as much as they used to. I’m not sure if that’s true, but what’s indisputable is that history blogging has expanded far beyond the small excited groups of bloggers I knew four or five years ago, and inevitably become much more fragmented in the process. Many of those c.2005 history bloggers aren’t even active any more, or only intermittently so (*cough*).
A number of previously active history-related carnivals have withered of late (Asian History and Military History in particular spring to mind). Who is reading the History Carnival? I certainly don’t see many links to it any more – and if it’s not being linked then it’s not going to find new readers, just the gradually diminishing band of old bloggers who were reading it three years ago.
And if it’s not being read then I don’t see the point of bloggers spending time putting editions together, and I’m not going to be motivated to spend time chasing hosts and maintaining it either. Which is why I didn’t try particularly hard to find a host for September, to be honest.
But maybe Twitter can help out here and revitalise the Carnival (and other history carnivals too). Suddenly there’s a single place where growing numbers of historians are communicating with each other: Katrina Gulliver has started to compile a list, and coined a new tag to help us find each other: #twitterstorians.
You can tweet nominations for next weekend’s History Carnival to @katrinagulliver including the tag #historycarnival (as well as the usual channels – announcements coming). You can also use the #historycarnival tag to tweet suggestions in response to my original question – or if you want to be old-school, you can of course comment below.
Where do you think the History Carnival could or should be going in the future? Or is it time to shut up shop?