I answered a few questions for Amstat News not too long ago, and the questions were centered around why I, as a stat grad student, take the time to write for FlowingData and why others should give blogging a try. The questions were more from a career standpoint, but it really all comes down to this. It’s fun.
I have fun picking apart designs and playing with data. It’s fun reading comments. It’s fun looking at others’ work. It’s fun learning how to make stuff. It’s fun getting emails from people who were totally scared of numbers, but are now taking stat courses.
People often ask me how much time I spend writing posts, but it’s like asking someone how much he watches TV or plays video games. How many hours have you spent roaming an art gallery?
I’ll let you in on a little secret though. Maintaining a blog doesn’t take as much time as you think. You just need to manage your time wisely. Don’t waste minutes checking stats, tweaking design, etc. Get rid of the extraneous, and you’re just writing in a journal. Doogie Howser wrote every day and he was a doctor and he had a social life. So it must be possible.
Hold on. I think I have a point here.
I guess—if you’re thinking about starting a blog, go for it. I highly encourage it. FlowingData has definitely been a good thing for me. There’s a book on the way, and I’ve been lucky to connect with people and groups I probably never would have been able to otherwise. But don’t just do it because you think it’ll advance your career. Do it because you actually like what you’re doing, and other stuff will follow. It’ll be much more fun that way.
Do you blog? What kind of experience have you had?
P.S. I’m trying something new here. If you have a question, I’ll try to answer it. Send your questions my way to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Ask FlowingData” in the subject.