… and some reminiscences of the world’s first anthropological weblog
The list compiled by Christina Laun definitely is worth a read, especially as it is structured and commented. What strikes me the most is how much ‘the world has changed’ since ↑KerLeone and me started out with the ↑Ethno::log—which, as of this very moment, is online for 2714 days. ‘Weblog,’ let alone ‘blog,’ were all but household words back then, nobody knew what the heck we were talking about. The original plan was to not just have the Ethno::log hosted on the university server, but to set up a complete weblog server there—for all social sciences and humanities in our house—, using the ↑antville software. It took us countless e-mails, phone calls, and lengthy face-to-face conversations to explain what we wanted to do to the university’s guardians of the IT-infrastructure. Finally we succeeded, and the ‘steering committee’ I took in a flush … once it held one of its rare meetings. Then the domain giantville.lmu.de indeed was created. The name was a strike of genius—at the same time reminiscent of Sir Isaac Newton’s famous saying ‘We are standing on the shoulders of giants …,’ pointing to the fabulous software which should be used, starting with an abbreviation of ‘Geisteswissenschaftliche Institute’ [Institutes of social sciences and humanities], containing the contrast beween ants and giants, and being generally catchy. Alas, the software never got installed. The whole project fell prey to the slowly grinding mills of bureaucracy, and to the fact of the IT staff being chronically overworked, to say the least. The domain lay idle for quite a while, then vanished. To be honest, we also had lost interest, once we realized how tedious and futile it is to explain a ‘vision’ to an institution of that size. And we had lost a lot of time and nerve. A lot.
KerLeone then quickly managed to get space within original antville, and there the Ethno::log saw the light of day, and still is there today. From start on it was planned to be an open weblog—everybody who registers can post content, and in English, although early on even a ↑French posting dropped in. Nevertheless for a long span of time KerLeone and me virtually were the only contributors. We thought English was the barrier for our German-native-speaker students and colleagues, so we decided to allow any language. But the Ethno::log never took off the way we had envisioned—at least in my opinion. It spawned a lot of interest in weblogs within anthropology, for sure. If I get the story right, the now famous, and fabulous, ↑anthropologi.info was inspired by the Ethno::log, and KerLeone pointed Lorenz to using weblog-software instead of static html-pages. But our presumptuous dream was that the Ethno::log should develope into the gravitational center of anthropology online, or at least within the blogosphere [lol] … this now is ↑Savage Minds, I guess.
Yesterday Christina put online her list of the top 100 anthropology blogs—and the Ethno::log ain’t among them. Actually, it can not be, because nowadays it sports German content almost exclusively. But today it is true, that for virtually every anthropologically graspable topic or issue, ‘there is a blogger out there who shares your interests.’ Ain’t that great?
Hell, we were pioneers ;-)