I was asked to comment on how my use of social media contributed to my career as a statistician and since, either
a. It was too good to not post
b. I was too tired from the four presentations I had to do this week plus taking my grandchildren to Disneyland to come up with an actual blog post …
… I decided to post the answer here —————————————
In short, it sounds like the time invested in my blog is a bad idea – but wait for the punchline at the end …
My website gets about 1.3 million visits a year, and over a million of those are to my blog. As a consultant, I have received a few contracts from people who knew me from my blog. However, I have been in business nearly 30 years, so far more are from personal referrals.
I get far more requests to speak at conferences as a result of my blog than actual offers of work. Because I often work on grant projects that have dissemination as a requirement, those invitations are helpful and they usually pay my expenses (or I don’t accept).
Occasionally, someone who reads my blog will ask if I’m interested in teaching a course as an adjunct. I usually decline because those positions pay poorly and I’m booked. I make about $300 – $400 a year for advertising/ sponsored posts on my blog. I could make several times that but I seldom have time to write a sponsored post. The only time I do it is if the offer comes on a topic I was going to write about any way.
Two reasons my blog is useful.
- I started it with the original idea of it being a daily personal online log of what I was doing. Often, I will solve a problem in statistics or programming and three years later face the same problem without remembering the details of how I solved it previously. I travel a lot so the original program may not be available on my laptop, or I may no longer be working for that client. So, I started posting those solutions online to be able to access anywhere. I can’t tell you the number of hours that has saved me. The fact that other people benefit, too, is icing on the cake.
- People appreciate when you help them out.Two years ago, I did a Kickstarter campaign to raise $20,000 to support an educational game project I wanted to do. Over half of the backers came from my blog readers. In part because I was able to demonstrate commercial potential, I received a $450,000 USDA Small Business Innovation Research award.