[illustration: an alchemical hermaphroditic past-future gazing medieval Janus you'd recognize if you were our FB friend]
by J J Cohen
Once or twice I've mentioned here my concern that social media sites,* with their somewhat closed architecture, have supplanted blogs, with their open to serendipity, inherently public feel (and I write "feel" because ITM is moderated: though it can be read by anyone who comes along, comments that advertise pharmaceuticals or gratuitously troll do not get published. We are talking about perhaps .5% of all comments submitted, but still: there is selection). I'm going to stop using martial words like supplant or kill to describe the social media "versus" blog "battle," though, because I don't believe we're seeing succession or replacement so much as integration and supplementation. Our FB ITM page has 254 friends. We place a link to our new blog posts there, and it's been interesting (heartening, really) to see that we get a small flurry of comments, often by readers who do not comment at the blog site. We also post some items on FB that don't make it to the ITM main page, such as: a link to a post by ADM on the job market; a link to an article in the Times that claims a fourth-century York grave belonged to an elite black-skinned Roman; and my wondering if we should change our icon of a Roman Janus coin to something more medieval. All of these have spurred good conversations.
I've also noticed a large number of non-medievalists have found their way to ITM via Karl and my Twitter streams, especially through tweets being retweeted. The job market post was especially well disseminated in this way.
This Sunday morning ITM post, born from the fact that possibly for the first time in our entire history the Cohen family has not a single obligation on our calendar, is just to say: I'm less worried about one mode or sphere taking the place of another than I used to be, and more hopeful about overlap and integration.
*Why do people still say "social media sites" that now that we are down to one absolutely dominant space, FB?