My first blog post

By Irene Vrbik in Personal

June 9, 2021

My first blog post

I web, therefore I am a spiderman.

Yihui Xie

The above is a picture of me, circa 1994. This is right around the time when most experts would say blogging (which of course wasn’t called “blogging” yet) was born [ 1]. If you asked me then what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have answered with “a teacher!”. As that goal materialized into the position I am so grateful to be in today, at no point did I envision that I would be writing blog posts.

My inspiration for adopting a “Blog” section on my website comes from Yihui Xie. Yihui is a juggernaut in the RStudio world and it is actually because of his blogdown R package (shout-out co-author Alison Hill the creator of the Hugo-Apéro theme used here) that I am able to tackle on building a website as aesthetically pleasing and functional as this one. In one of my many spirals down the proverbial rabbit hole, I came across a talk by Yihui which not only outlined how easy website building could be in RStudio, but also presented compelling arguments as to why we should have a website.

The first reason pertains to the quote that opened the blog. The more extreme version of this sentiment is that without a website you effectively don’t exist. While I expect that most of the traffic I will receive on this site will be from my students who most-definitely will be aware of my existence, I did not feel too compelled by this warning.

It was only after hearing this next point did I feel that best time to start blogging was yesterday. Here is the bullet point (on slide 26 of that presentation) made the lightbulb go off:

Share what you have learned with other people, and your future self!

A-HA! Rather than accumulating countless R scripts in my UsefulR folder, or scribbling summaries on neglected notebooks, I could have been time-capsuling these lessons in the form of a blog post! Not only would these posts be easier for me to revisit and search through, but they also have the added bonus of potentially teaching someone else 🙌

I wouldn’t want to calculate all the time wasted re-learning something I know I had spent the time understanding previously, or re-coding a program I know I have hidding somewhere in the UsefulR folder (but how to search for it?). What I do want, is a system in place for documenting and disseminating these internal lessons. With that, I will leave the reader with a final quote from Yihui

Listen / read / talk and forget; write and remember!

Posted on:
June 9, 2021
3 minute read, 447 words
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