A Few New Year’s Resolutions for Anthropology Blogging

Matt Thompson over at Savage Minds did a short post today summarizing his three very practical, admirable, personal/professional and “Anthropological” New Year’s Resolutions, which include (1) seeing projects through to the end (this includes reading books), (2) creating a new website for his MA thesis, and (3) attending the next American Anthropological Association meetings. I like to be self-reflective on a regular basis and not just resolve to do something more or less or better just because it’s a new calendar year, but it seems like a good moment to participate in the tradition anyway.

Here are a few of my own goals for what I want to do and not do with Anthropologizing in 2014:

(1) Continue my Anthropologists in Practice interview series with non-academic anthropology practitioners. I have done 14 so far with anthropologists of all stripes working in healthcare, non-profit management, business, design, and other non-traditional areas. I’ve really enjoyed the responses, which have all been inspirational to me personally, and they seem to have been popular among the larger online anthropology community. I’d also like to find ways to reach out to the general public with this information to obtain my goal of informing non-anthropologists about the breadth and importance of the application of our skills and competencies in the real world (suggestions for how to do this are more than welcome.)

(2) Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. It was only when I first heard someone say this out loud that I realized how applicable it is to how I approach my life and work. Doing good work is important, yet I often equate “good” with “perfect” and try to make something perfect rather than just accept that it’s as good as it’s going to get. My blog posts are not immune to this – I will come up with an idea, write a few drafts with key points, and then ruminate over the tiny details so much that it takes me forever to finish what I started. My posts often turn into lengthier articles than is really needed. I want to create good, useful, thoughtful and interesting content and not say anything dumb or ill-conceived, but I really need to take a more practical and time-sensitive approach to writing and not let the idea of a perfect article take over just writing something decent and moving on, even if that means making a few mistakes along the way.

(3) Allow for more time in my schedule to follow through with ideas for new posts. Right now, I have 9 drafts just sitting there waiting to be finished. I don’t have as much time as I would like to create new content, but I should try to make some.

(4) Do more posts about the intersection of anthropology with everyday lived experiences, workplace processes, popular culture, and current events. I want to reflect more about the things that are going on around me using my anthropological perspective and share these thoughts with others to create a dialogue. The Narcissistic Anthropologist is a really inspiring blog that does a great job with this kind of content.

(5) Do more posts on things that (are hopefully) useful to others (e.g., anthropology students, job seekers, researchers, etc.) I really enjoy doing posts with practical and useful information based on my experiences, like this one about design research job interview questions, one of my more popular posts.

I’d love to hear your ideas for any new and different things I could do here on Anthropologizing. Drop me a line in the comments section with your thoughts!


  1. You do a great job on these posts, Amy. I love reading them all. Don’t agonize too much over them, or anything else for that matter! Life’s too short. Dad

  2. I would also like to read from the other side as well – not just the applied anthropologists who are working as non academic practitioners, but the folks who hired anthropologists as well. What do those employers find that anthropologists bring to the job – not just all of the things we pat ourselves on the back for enlightening the world with, but why does a hospital hire a medical anthropologist as opposed to a public health professional? Does the degree really matter? Or is the experience that is brought to the table?

    I am also trying to make a commitment to keep posts to under 1000 words, and closer to maybe 7 – 800. Too often I find myself doing to quick a scan on 1500 word plus blogs. I am thinking that for the more regular blog posts, that if the content needs to go much beyond 1000 words, perhaps the post should actually link to another piece – but that within the 1000 words or less the basic thesis of the post runs through the beginning, middle, and end, and that greater detail can be linked elsewhere.

    I consistently enjoy your posts. Have a good New Year.

    1. I really like your idea of hearing about the experiences of those who have hired anthropologists! Some interviews or information from those folks could potentially be really useful for students, job seekers, departments, etc. Thanks for the suggestion.

      1. I agree – it would be great to see the reasons why others reach out to the anthropology field. Or even to understand the strengths/challenges of hiring an anthropologist!

      2. Right – not just the reasons why people have hired anthropologists, but any challenges they have faced in hiring them and their perceptions of what anthropologists are both good at and bad at.

  3. Reblogged this on The Narcissistic Anthropologist and commented:
    Love seeing anthropologists make a point to advance the thinking and practice of their practice. Consumer Anthropology is one space (where I play) that takes theory and applies it to a other space. It’s not always perfect but we always learn and continue to evolve our “best practices”. But as the world changes so do our methodologies. It’s a fun space to grow in and love seeing other anthropologists think broadly.

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