Throwback Thursday: Is Social Media a Waste of Time?

Going through our archives, we came across this great post from May 20, 2014 “Is Social Media a Waste of Time?” that we wanted to share in case you missed it the first time around.

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.

  1. 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.
  2.  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.


Paying it forward in the community using social media can result in being paid back in unexpected ways.


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