New Year’s Updates and Experiments

Hey hey! Happy (almost) new year!

New experiment: My Year in Surveys

I don’t typically do new year’s resolutions, but I do like this time of year for sitting back and taking stock of where things are and what I might like to focus on going forward.  I have a few ideas, but they’re really pretty vague to the point of being useless: be healthier, manage stress better, spend more time with my loved ones. As often happens when I am faced with vague requests, the idea floated through my mind that I wish I had some more data about what was going on.

It occurred to me that there’s actually no good reason I can’t get the data I’m looking for. I design surveys for people as part of my side work, why not design one for myself to gather data around what I’m up to on a daily basis? Thus my 2018 self-survey was born. It’s a work in progress, but here’s the general set-up:

  1. Every day I take the same  survey (built in Google Forms) that asks questions about my health, stress status, and family life.
  2. Every time I encounter a need for a new answer (or new question), I add it and track it going forward.
  3. Snarky/ridiculous answers are allowed and are built in to the survey. In fact my stress management section is kind of based on this and asks about both “Psychodrama of the Moment” and “What are you obsessing about today?”

So far it takes me <5 minutes to complete, and asks some questions I’m pretty interested to trend out. For example, on the stress management page I have a list of different feelings I might be having that day. I will be fascinated to see what feelings are my most commonly reported. I’ll be interested to see how the survey changes over the year, and I’ll probably be doing some sort of reports about what I’m finding. It’s possible I’ll end up abandoning the whole thing by mid-January, but I think the active updating part will  appeal to my tinkering/don’t like to get bored side.

Top posts update:

I did my “top posts of 2017” post 2 weeks ago thinking nothing could really change between then and the end of the year. Then my Dunning-Kruger post got linked to in an apparently popular Reddit thread and it claimed the top spot for the year. Teach me to jump the gun.

Read the headline update: 

I’ve talked before about how you should always read more than the headline on an article, and I’ve also pointed out how every time an article is posted on social media people seem to feel freer to move away from the original source material. This article captured a new phenomena that’s related to both: news outlets posting their own stories to Twitter under different (and misleading) text that doesn’t jive with their own headlines/articles. The Hill is apparently quite terrible about this, though I’m sure with Twitter moving to 280 characters they’ll clear this right up, right guys?

That’s all I got, see you all in 2018!

2 thoughts on “New Year’s Updates and Experiments

  1. I read the link about The Hill and its tweets. I had thought of them as more conservative-friendly than 80% of other outlets because I have seen stories critical of Democrats. But I had only seen what had been linked to by others. Guess I had them pegged wrong. Those are fairly serious examples of being misleading.


    • Those examples were weird enough that I kind of wonder if they have a rogue social media manager or something. Plenty of places have their articles set up to auto-Tweet under the headline, so it’s clear someone’s doing this intentionally. It’s too bad that otherwise good reporting/editing can be colored by someone changing the wording at the last minute, possibly without the article author even knowing it happened.


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