Extra Life 2016

Around this time last year, I was getting ready for Extra Life, putting together a list of games to play, prizes to give away, conditions for raffle entries and of course, the all-important donation goal. I worked tirelessly on this, getting in touch with game developers for keys, Blue Microphones for a Blue Yeti as grand prize and coordinating with the rest of the Tomb Raider Community Team. Continue reading Extra Life 2016

Blogger Spotlight – Kelly M, The Archaeology of Tomb Raider

Welcome to Blogger Spotlight, where I show appreciation to the people of my ever-growing WordPress community through a small interview where they talk about how they started and what blogging has been like for them.

The Brilliant Kelly M!

Celebrating its first anniversary, we’ll kick things off with the author/owner of The Archaeology of Tomb Raider, a blog focusing on the popular Tomb Raider series and archaeology, both through the games and in general.

On this site you find enlightening pieces on symbolism in the Tomb Raider series, the true origins of cultures, locations, relics and even creatures found in the series. You’ll also find news pieces on real world and current archaeological digs and discoveries and how they might change how we perceive history or how much they’ll impact a given society or country if they’re proved or disproved. And beyond that, if you’ve ever thought of pursuing Archaeology as a career, then Kelly has what you need to prepare yourself for the challenges ahead, the first thing being lifting the veil Hollywood and games have put over the Archaeology, revealing the true nature of this great path.

Trust me, every second spent on her site means something new to learn.

I leave you now in Kelly’s good company:

1) How did you get into blogging?

I suppose I sort of stumbled into it. I’ve always enjoyed writing and I used to spend countless hours writing letters (and later emails) to my friends and family when I was living and studying in the UK and China. This was back in the early days of the Internet so there was no WordPress, Blogger, or Facebook (the horror!) and some of my family still hadn’t figured out how to send an email (this has since been remedied). In 2004, just as I was preparing to move to Taiwan with my partner for 10 months, a friend told me about a new blogging service, LiveJournal, so I decided to keep a diary of my time there. It seemed like the perfect way to share photos and stories with my loved ones as well as connect with fellow expats and bloggers.

Once I moved back to Europe, I ditched the LiveJournal blog (though I saved the blog posts for posterity) and started a series of other blogs, most of which lasted no more than a few months. Despite my inability to keep those blogs going, blogging has been a part of my life for the past 10 years and it’s hard to remember a time when I *wasn’t* working on one.

2) Is your current site the first you’ve had? If not, can you mention the others?

Not at all. Quite the opposite, actually. I’ve gone through a dozen blogs over the past decade though none of these were particularly successful. Most of these were personal blogs (basically online diaries) which I soon got bored of while others were moderately successful (by “moderately” I mean, I had a few visitors each day as opposed to a couple a week).

I used to run one called “Eye on East Asia” which focussed on East Asian cultures and languages but I stopped working on it less than 2 years after I launched it as I lost interest and found it hard to compete with similar blogs (you’d be amazed how many China and Japan blogs there are out there). I then shifted my focus towards archaeology and started one called “The Amateur Archaeologist” which was quite similar in scope to “The Archaeology of Tomb Raider” but I couldn’t really figure out where I wanted to go with it. So I ditched that one and started yet another blog, “China Heritage Watch“, which focussed solely on Chinese archaeology and heritage issues in modern-day China. Although I really enjoyed working on this one, I found it didn’t attract as many readers as “The Amateur Archaeologist” due to its narrow scope. I guess Chinese archaeology wasn’t that popular amongst my readers. So after a few months, I put it one on hold while I figured out what to do with it.

And then in March 2013, only a few days after Tomb Raider 2013 was released, I stumbled upon a news article about the real-life search for Yamatai and Queen Himiko’s tomb and this inspired me to finally start a blog that I had had in mind for years: one that combined my passion for archaeology with my love for the Tomb Raider video games. And thus “The Archaeology of Tomb Raider” was born.

3) On any given day, how often do you post on your site? Do you have a post-quota you try to meet each week?

I don’t really have a fixed quota but I try to update the blog at least twice a week, even if it’s just to share some photos or post a short news article. I’ve received a number of guest articles from fellow Tomb Raider fans over the past year but it’s mostly a one-person show. Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day…

4) Describe a typical week for you: your responsibilities, usual activities and how you juggle them and working on your site.

I have a full-time job, go to archery training once or twice a week, and have a number of other hobbies and commitments so I’ve had to learn more to juggle all of those with blogging and social networking. My Arte-Factual feature is perhaps the most challenging as I normally have to do quite a bit of research for those articles, so I tend to leave these for the weekend when I have more free time. Thankfully, my partner is quite forgiving and supportive of my obsession with TR and all things ancient. I spend almost 2 hours commuting to and from work each day so I’ve learnt to use that time for to do some background reading and/or social networking…though this always depends on how well the train’s WiFi service is working. All in all, I’d say I spend at least 2 hours every day working on the blog and updating its social media accounts…and I love every minute of it. 🙂

5) Describe the Best experience you’ve had since you opened your site (Blogging/Internet/community related of course)

It’s hard to name just one as I’d had a lot of fantastic experiences ever since I launched the blog. I’ve met a lot of wonderful people from all over the world who share my love of archaeology and/or video games and I’ve found that the Tomb Raider fan community is a very warm and welcoming one. As for personal achievements, I’m quite proud of the two competitions I’ve run via the blog as well as the amazing response I had when I announced my series of fan interviews. I got so many replies back that I had to publish several interviews a week just to clear the backlog. I may not have a massive readership but my readers are the best audience I could wish for. 🙂

6) Describe the Worst experience (or one of the bad ones) you’ve had since you opened your site (Blogging/Internet/community related of course)

Thankfully, I haven’t had any bad experiences since I launched the Archaeology of Tomb Raider. I’ve had a few minor disagreements with people on Twitter (mostly on the subject of the reboot game) but that’s about it. No flame wars or derogatory remarks. And I really hope it stays that way as I have no time or patience for trolls. I’ve got blog posts to write. 😉

I want to thank Kelly for taking the time to answer my questions and I wish her a Happy Anniversary and hope for many more to come!

If you have any suggestions for other things I should ask my guests, please let me know in the comments, but don’t forget to visit The Archaeology of Tomb Raider

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