An inspirational little essay urges the appreciation of mathematics for its beautiful and elegant ideas.
It is so common to hear PR people qualify their discussions of public relations measurement with a statement like "I'm not good at math; I'm not a numbers person." For some reason, people seem to think that they have to be either a numbers or words person, and that this will affect their ability to do public relations or social media measurement.
At The Measurement Standard we have always expressed our appreciation for the beauty and logic of mathematics. But we've never made the point as elegantly as does Manil Suri in "How to Fall in Love With Math," an inspirational essay in today's New York Times.
"Despite what most people suppose, many profound mathematical ideas don’t require advanced skills to appreciate... Think of it this way: you can appreciate art without acquiring the ability to paint, or enjoy a symphony without being able to read music. Math also deserves to be enjoyed for its own sake, without being constantly subjected to the question, “When will I use this?” "
So, don't worry if you are not a "math person." As software improves, statistics becomes less of a chore and more of a exercise in the elegance and inference of logic. (And you may only truly appreciate this if you learned to do ANOVA on a calculator, as I did, way back when dinosaurs roamed the earth.) The true usefulness of mathematics in public relations measurement lies not in the practicality of doing computations, but in the logical beauty and power of improving programs by making inferences from data.
(thanks to bit-player for the image)
Bill Paarlberg, Editor of The Measurement Standard, has been writing about public relations measurement for 20 years. He is editor of the award-winning "Measuring the Networked Nonprofit" by Beth Kanter and Katie Paine, and editor of two other books on measurement by Katie Paine, "Measure What Matters" and "Measuring Public Relationships." Visit Bill Paarlberg's page on LinkedIn.
The Measurement Standard is a publication of News Group International.