Saturday, 17 November 2012

Confessions of an ageing socmedite (that's short for social-media-ite)

My aim is to help to improve peoples lives through the work I do as a statistician. To achieve this it seems sensible to publicise my statistical work. Someone recently commented that I should advertise my past in a blog – they said that it’s a bit like writing a CV, but with an added twist. Further to this, they added that “you should create a blog about your past, share case studies of your work, and [most importantly] receive feedback on these blogs”. That latter bit is the “added twist”, and it might be the part that most of us would admit to being frightened of. He went on to say that “by continually learning from the feedback, and becoming better known, you will be able to combine business knowledge and statistical methods to create good case studies of your work”.

And I initially thought, “simple, what a great idea”.

I confess that “getting into” blogging, and other social media tools, probably makes me a bit of a geek. Or in Seth Godin’s words, I have become one of the nerds that’s increasing in number.

But, before you think that I have flipped, you’ll be pleased to know that I won’t be racing headfirst into writing my blog – that’s because I am slowly realising how difficult it is to write about my work as a statistician. Yes, maybe my age is slowing me down a bit, or maybe it’s something to do with not being able to write a story. But I don’t think so. Also, the problem is nothing to do with numbers, or formulae, or this-and-that fancy analysis technique that statisticians use. It’s more to do with getting around those confidentiality agreements, and it’s also a bit about not wanting to cause any conflict with employers and/or colleagues – after all they might need me, or I might need them, in the future.

However, I will not be put off, and the seeds of this blogging challenge have been planted. So watch this space.

By the way, I recently read a great post on the Understanding Uncertainty website (Obtained from here It reminded me to (a) realise that I am learning all the time, and (b) that I do need to remember to keep the following points in the back of my mind:
  1. Think about uncertainty,
  2. Don’t give scientific advice if you aren’t scientifically qualified, and
  3. Don’t engage in informal communication about something you don’t know enough about.

Oh, and just in case you have missed it. I heard a great talk on TED and thought you might want to hear some ideas worth spreading. I like this one at the moment:

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See my Presentations on SlideShare:
Here is an example of a presentation I recently gave to a group of Primary School children:

Please let me have your feedback.