I mean, blimey.
I didn’t make a huge deal out of reaching the 100th edition of the History Carnival because in a way the number doesn’t feel all that meaningful. As the host notes, the shifts in the Carnival’s schedule between the first edition in January 2005 and finally settling down to monthly intervals in 2007 complicate things somewhat. Carnivalesque, after all, is older (September 2004) but it’s not even reached its 80s.
Nonetheless, there’s something seductive about a nice big round number that provides an excuse to reflect – not to mention do some basic housekeeping that I ought to have done ages ago. I’ve checked and cleaned up the links to all the past carnival editions; as you might expect when going back several years on the Web, a fair few links weren’t working. Some blogs had simply moved and it was merely a case of updating addresses. However, a few are no longer in existence or are inaccessible.
Between the Wayback Machine and my own sporadic efforts at archiving, most of these have been retrieved in some form: at present 89 of the editions are accessible at their original blog, and a further 8 in an archived format. One of the remaining three may still exist in an offline database and I’m hopeful the host can retrieve it at some point; the other two are on blogs that are now restricted to invited members and I’ll try to contact the hosts to see whether I can get archive versions to post on the HC site. I’ve taken Zotero snapshots of all 97 available editions and will try to remember to do that as standard for future editions so there will always be a record saved for posterity.
So that’s the housekeeping; what about the reflecting? Last time I did that, nearly two years ago, I was in a notably pessimistic mood. I wouldn’t have been at all sure that we’d get to 100. And yet, here we still are, and the Carnival seems in pretty good shape. I should do some research on visitor traffic to the editions and links on the Web, but I do know that my worries about finding hosts and getting nominations have pretty much disappeared.
Twitter has made all the difference. The Carnival has been on Twitter since last September; @historycarnival at the moment of writing has 930 followers (and nearly all of them aren’t spambots). That’s 930 people reading announcements about HC and Carnivalesque, and other relevant carnivals I happen to learn about, calls for nominations, begging tweets for hosts – and retweeting them to their own followers who might not yet be following @historycarnival themselves – in return for a relatively minimal investment of time and effort.
Back in September ’09, I and others wondered if the speed and immediacy of Twitter were making blog carnivals redundant. Fortunately, it seems there’s still a place for the more leisurely round-up – and after all it shouldn’t be forgotten that there are still many people online who detest Twitter. I think I still need to work on new non-Twitter-based communication strategies, but it feels a lot more like hard work than the few seconds it takes to send tweets that will reach several hundred people. Suggestions welcome!
Part of the answer might be tools I’ve been playing around with, which can be used to automatically send Twitter communications to other destinations. I suspect I could do more with the Broadside in that respect. I’ve recently started using ifttt, a very quick and nifty way to convert tweets into various other forms: emails, Delicious bookmarks, blog posts, etc. We’ll have to see.
Here’s to the next 100 editions!