I recently attended an even hosted by Social Media Club Houston on Data Visualization. The topic has convinced me that there are topics that my liberal arts major and affinity for lifelong learning have not equipped me to understand. A few minutes into the presentation and I was lost!
I did walk away with three important takeaways, though:
- Start with your goals. I was glad to hear this one, since it’s something I tell my social media clients and students quite frequently. If you don’t know what your goals are, you don’t know what to measure and you don’t know what success looks like.
- Don’t run a report if you’re not going to do something with the data. How many of you are tracking information that doesn’t impact your processes or decision-making? When I think of how much time and energy I put into reports that just sit on someone’s desk… well, it’s depressing.
- Make a story from the numbers. You have to illustrate, with words, what the numbers mean to your organization, your customers, your employees, etc.
I was glad to walk away with info I understood. And I think I need to start delving into data more frequently, so I can at least know what’s being said next time.
NOTE: I wrote this on my ipad, then never published it because I kept thinking I’d come back to proof and edit. More than a month later, I published this with typos… promising to come back later and make it better… knowing I probably won’t. I decided it was better to get the content up than to never publish in expectation of perfection. It’s one of several posts I’ve published in this manner.