#SHA 2014: Social Media at the SHA Conference

Over the past few years, SHA has built an online presence through the use of social media, and it began within the conference committee. This year, with the addition of the blog, and the society’s developing use of Twitter and Facebook, we want to encourage you all to incorporate social media into your conference experience in Québec City. You can find further information about the use of social media at conferences in general here and here. Using social media during the SHA Québec 2014 meetings will be a snap as high speed WiFi is available free of charge throughout the Québec Convention Centre!

Before the Conference

Using social media before the conference provides a number of opportunities to make your experience in Québec more enjoyable. Here’s some suggestions:
1. Catch Up with What’s Happening: We have a Facebook Page, a Twitter Account, and official Twitter Hashtag. We’ve also been posting blogs about Québec City and the conference since January. Follow and Like Us, and read up on what to expect at the conference!
2. Start Communicating: Twitter is a great way to meet other archaeologists. See who is tweeting with the #SHA2014 tag, and start conversations with them!
3. Advertise your session by blogging and posting: Do you have a blog? Use it to share your session, the reasons why it is important, where and what time it’s being held. Post it on our Facebook wall and send a tweet with #SHA2014 and @SHA_org mentioned, and we’ll share it with our members!
4. Share Your Trip: Let us know what’s happening on your trip to Québec City. Did you find a good travel deal? Need someone to share a ride with from the airport? Delayed? Lost? Send a tweet with the #SHA2014 tag and see if someone can lend a hand.

At the Conference
Once you arrive in Québec City, use @SHA_org and our Facebook page to communicate with the conference committee; we’ll be using it to communicate with you. Here are some things we’ll be using social media for:
What we’ll be doing
1. Announcing special events: We’ll send out reminders about events including the awards banquet, student reception and so on, so you don’t miss anything.
2. Special Announcements: If something is relocated, delayed, or cancelled, we will announce this via social media.
3. Answering Questions: Send your questions to @SHA_org or the Facebook page.
4. RTing and RePosting: We’ll repost on Facebook and ReTweet on Twitter the things you share on the #SHA2014 hashtag. If you’ve taken a great picture, made an interesting comment in a session, or provided some good information, we want to make sure our followers see it!

What you can do
1. Post YOUR Special Announcements: Has something happened in your session that is delaying things? Have you found a great restaurant or coffee shop you want to share? Spotted your book in the book room? Post these items and we’ll repost them so others can see them.
2. Ask Questions: Use Twitter and Facebook to ask questions about the conference. Can’t find a room? Can’t remember what time the Awards Banquet is? Send a tweet to @SHA_org or post on the Facebook wall and we’ll get back to you.
3. Take Pictures: we’d love to see and share your pictures from the conference, particularly from the special events. Conference photos will be posted on the SHA Facebook wall. If you post them on Twitter, please use the #SHA2014 tag!

In a Session
Twitter can be particularly useful when you’re in a session. It provides a backchannel of commentary and discussion, so people who couldn’t attend the session or conference can still follow along. It also gives presenters and chairs a chance to get some feedback on their presentation, and to communicate with the audience – leading to interactions and relationships that might not have occurred otherwise. Here are some tips to maximize the effectiveness, and civility, of Twitter. You can find more hints and tips here.

For Session organizers
1. Use a Hashtag: It’s OK with us if you give your session its own hashtag; this way, it is clear what tweets belong to what section. We STRONGLY advise that you also use the #SHA2014 hashtag, so that people following it will see your session as well. Otherwise, it may not be noticed. So, pick something short to save characters!
2. Make it Known: Make sure all your presenters know about the hashtag, and that you’d like to use social media during the session. Make sure that the audience knows as well; tell them as you introduce the session. Also, encourage your presenters to include their own Twitter name and the session hashtag on their introduction slide, so that people can use it during their presentation.

For Presenters
1. Be Loud: include your Twitter name on your presentation slides, and say something in your introduction about how you’d like to hear feedback on Twitter. If you DON’T want anyone to broadcast your session, make the request at the beginning of your presentation.
2. Respond: Be sure to respond to the comments that you get, and build relationships!
3. Pay it Forward: Be an active tweeter during the session for your fellow presenters.

For the audience
1. Be Respectful: Don’t tweet anything you wouldn’t say to a presenter’s face; Twitter is, in general, a friendly place. Constructive criticism is certainly welcome, but remember you only have 140 characters. It’s probably best to send the presenter a private message saying you’d love to chat about their presentation rather than publicly dig into them. If a presenter requests silence on social media for their presentation, respect it and give your thumbs a rest.
2. Introduce your Speaker: It’s courteous to send a tweet out introducing the presenter and their paper topic before starting to tweet their presentation: this gives those following some context.
3. Cite: Use the presenter’s Twitter name, surname, or initials in all the following tweets so that their ideas are connected to them. Use quotes if you’re directly quoting someone from their presentation, and be sure to include their name. Remember: these presentations are still the presenter’s intellectual property, so treat it respectfully!

After the Conference
Just because a conference is over, it doesn’t mean the work is done! The same goes for social media; here’s how you can round out your conference experience:
1. Write a Summary: Use a blog or Storify to give other archaeologists a glimpse into your experience, session or paper, and see what they missed. This also allows us to gather feedback about the conference so we can make it better next year! Be sure to post it on Twitter, use the #SHA2014 tag, and post on our Facebook page so others can see it!
2. Post your Paper: Using a blog or academia.edu to post your paper is a great way to make it available to everyone. Or you could make a video; simply record yourself talking over your slides and upload it to YouTube or Vimeo (read more about this here). Then, share it with us!
3. Build your Networks: Build longer lasting relationships by looking up the people you’ve met at the conference on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn (oh, we have a LinkedIn Group, too, just for SHA members). If you find them, send them a message saying how nice it was to see them!

It Takes a Village to Build a Trail

by Jennifer McKinnon

When I think back on the experience of building a maritime heritage trail, probably much like others who have worked on public or community projects, I get nostalgic about all of the friends and colleagues I met during the process. The old adage about it taking a village to raise a child also rings true for community projects such as heritage trails – it really does “take a village to build a trail.”

Community projects by their very nature are incredibly complicated, but can be infinitely rewarding. In a community as diverse as the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), any project leader must understand that there are multiple voices to be heard and incorporated. This can be learned the hard way or the hard way. What I mean by the hard way is that no amount of research can prepare one for the diversity in meaning and importance of heritage to a community; one member has a completely different understanding of a shared bit of heritage from the next member. And it is important to incorporate as many of those voices as possible.

First training in underwater archaeology held in the CNMI.

This is the task that I set about doing six years ago when I stood in front of a crowd in a smoky little restaurant that consisted of both divers (there to see my presentation on heritage trails) and an angry group of fishers (there to see a second presentation about a national monument which was set to restrict their access to fishing and thus their livelihood). What I found that night was a community so passionate about their right/heritage of fishing and opposed to more official colonial platitudes and restrictions. What I learned that night was two things: first, that no matter how well-funded, presented or shiny an idea is, if a community isn’t behind it, it has no worth; and second, the CNMI community was one with a long history of struggling with outsiders and outside ideas, and if progress was to be made, the idea should be locally generated. To this day these two lessons have held true to form and earned friendships and collegial relationships that will last a lifetime, not to mention some great research projects.

The idea for developing a heritage trail was conceived by staff at the Historic Preservation Office (HPO) and shared with me when I first visited the island in 2007.  Though originally aiming to build a Spanish colonial research agenda, I was quickly taken by the incredibly diverse and intact heritage related to the WWII Battle of Saipan. With a little friendly persuasion from the HPO, I found myself in conversations about mapping, preserving and interpreting submerged WWII sites which included planes, tanks, shipwrecks and assault vehicles of both Japanese and US forces. The idea to apply for a National Park Service Battlefield Protection Grant launched a one year grant awarded to Ships of Exploration and Discovery Research, which eventually turned into a four year project (and has now moved inland). After holding several public meetings and discussing the trail with various stakeholders (dive shops, boat operators, government agencies, humanities groups, visitor’s authority, etc.) the trail began to take shape. Sites were chosen based on stakeholder and public interest, the history and archaeology was researched with an inclusive approach (including Chamorro, Carolinian, US, Japanese, and Korean groups) and products were carefully researched so as to reach the widest audience possible (all ages and divers and non-divers alike). In addition, since a focus on sustainability was key, the project included both heritage awareness trainings for end users and a conservation survey and management plan (funded by a second Battlefield Grant) that collected baseline data for the HPO.

The interpretive products that make up the trail include nine waterproof dive guides and four double-sided posters in both English and Japanese; a 2D and 3D interpretive film for the National Parks on Guam and Saipan (produced in conjunction with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Advanced Imaging and Visualization Lab, National Park Service’s Submerged Resources Center, and Windward Media); and a website which includes information about the Battle and submerged heritage sites.

Poster from the WWII Battle of Saipan Maritime Heritage Trail.

But let me come back to the idea of it taking a village…the entire project from concept to completion would not have been possible if it were not for the interest of the local community. At every step of the way agencies and volunteers were not just included, but critical to the work. HPO conceived of the idea and several staff members assisted with recording the sites and conducting historical research; they also participated in training, first as trainees (Underwater Archaeology Training) and then trainers (Heritage Awareness Diving Seminar). Coastal Resources Management (CRM) provided in-kind support through the use of boats, fuel and the assistance of staff (i.e. captains, enforcement officers and biologists), as well as participating in and providing instruction during the training sessions. In fact, one CRM employee was so devoted to the project, he took vacation days so that he could participate in the field work! CRM also initiated a program to place moorings on the trail sites in order to minimize impact by visitors. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) provided in-kind support by offering boats, captains and expertise. CNMI Council for the Humanities promoted the project to the public by sponsoring public lectures and radio programs. NPS American Memorial Park hosted events such as public lectures, trainings and film viewings. Marianas Visitors Authority provided useful visitor and diving statistics in the planning process. In addition to the government agencies, private individuals hosted barbeques, provided in-kind support for hiring vessels, volunteered to conduct field work and historical research, provided translation services, gave local tours, set up interviews with family members, lent vehicles, and generally treated us as family.

CRM employee David Benavente working underwater.

From 2007 to the present I’ve had the privilege (and I do mean privilege) of working with the community/village of Saipan to record and research their maritime history from their colonization of the island some 3500 years ago to the more recent and tragic conflict of WWII. But I suspect there will be many, many years to come because like a snowball rolling down hill, interest builds momentum and once a village gets excited, who knows what may come of it…

So what are your experiences with creating trails or working with a village (community)? In what ways was the success of your project the immediate result of community input and assistance? Do you think the rewards of working with a community outweigh the complexity of the process?

#sha2014, Getting Ready for Quebec: Advice for Session Chairs


Here is the link to the conference website where you can find the final program: http://www.conferium.com/OLM/Prg_Present.lasso?showevent=361

Thank you again for organizing and chairing a session at the 2014 SHA meetings. As the conference draws near, we ask you to assist with final preparations.

Before your session starts:
– Know the a.v. requirements of your presenters. PowerPoint projectors and laptops are provided for all sessions. Please coordinate with session presenters to ensure that their presentations are loaded and working. SHA volunteers can help you with this if needed.
– All presenters should bring a flash drive containing the relevant file so that it can be uploaded to the computer before the session begins. Session chairs should check for compatibility issues between pc and mac versions of PowerPoint and for compatibility issues before the session begins.

During your session:
– Begin papers on time as scheduled in the program, remember they are 15 minute papers! If an author does not show up, wait for the next scheduled paper and encourage discussion. Please do not change the order of presentation or the scheduled start times for papers. Be prepared to facilitate the discussion period if there is a 15 min. break in your session.
– Have a watch or clock—Use it! Let your presenters know when they have 3 minutes, or that time is up. As time runs out, diplomatically inform the speaker that his or her time has expired, and request that the speaker conclude the presentation. Volunteers will provide you with prepared cue cards for 3 minutes and PLEASE CONCLUDE!

If you have any questions at all, please let us know ahead of time and we will provide what assistance we can. Thanks for working with us to make the meetings a success! Good luck with your session and we look forward to seeing you in Quebec City.

Programme Committee
SHA 2014