Dan Barrett
4 min readMay 17, 2024


Ok 30 minutes on the clockwork timer in the shape of an apple let’s go.

Thinking about the demise of that small corner of Twitter as a viable public service internet community. Not sure exactly when it happened but it’s been a while.

And it makes me think “what did I do all of that for?”

It seems odd. Like, very much another time. I can’t imagine doing another data driven cake longitudinal study, let alone shouting out to any Dan Barretts who aren’t me. I know hardly anybody was interested in my shrine to The Incredible Hulk (it’s currently in a packing box).

I am on Bluesky. I am checking it every day. It’s kind of nice? Maybe getting more viable as a thing? But I doubt it will be the same as the other thing was. And I’m not the same as I was for those years when I was putting in that effort on the internet.

Not to say I won’t ever put effort in on the internet. But that part of me really is a wasted muscle right now. I’ve enjoyed reading weeknotes from people on Bluesky. I can’t imagine getting into the same weeknotes swing I was in whenever it was, 7 or 8 years ago maybe.

Still a big cloud of standing fog in my head about the pandemic and what happened there, plus how it’s changed me. I feel like my engagement with that public service internet community I mentioned suffered particularly badly during 2020 and 2021. I was in the middle of many shared narratives of what was happening with people on the internet many of whom I met occasionally in real life (which was great) and now I have no idea what’s going on.

Still not got back into reading books. Really struggling with public transport, maybe slightly better in the past 6 weeks.

This morning I walked past a former colleague from Citizens Advice on the way back from the school run. They were on a call and I recognised them from their rather distinctive voice. They left Citizens Advice a few years ago. I wonder if they recognised me?

Nearly 5 years at that Citizens Advice as the Head of Data Science now. I honestly thought there would have been more to write about on the internet about this job but I guess circumstances and also actual substance means I was wrong.

I am doing a pretty good job. I know on my own terms I have had a positive impact. The team I am in is really good. A genuinely diverse group who are going from strength to strength. It has taken a while to get to this place — I’d say the last 18 months have been the best. And yes, the work that we do is interesting and valuable. I certainly didn’t expect myself to develop actual expertise in data specifics but here we are. Domain knowledge baby.

There was a period in this role of maybe 2 years that was really punishing. There were a few reasons behind that that I won’t go into now, maybe another time. But that particular punishing time has been over for a while.

It’s a big organisation, and a complicated one. Much of my work is kind of… blogging adjacent? Curating spaces to talk about data. Keeping logs of materials and resources with lots of links that people can refer back to. Sticking at it.

I like how we proactively go out and offer to help people. In a big organisation having that attitude, and that broad understanding that can come with considering the data as a whole and how it fits together, it’s a bit of a superpower. I’ll put that in the playbook. And the curating the spaces and keeping the logs of materials and links. Like, if a common complaint is that people keep reinventing the wheel then do everything you can to point out that the wheel has already been invented. Be kind with it though, maybe they’ll come up with a better wheel or notice that three other teams are working on Project Invent The Wheel right now.

Yeah anyway.

Work is giving me the space to do other things even if my energies are fairly low. I continue to improve my bread making and will write a book about sandwiches one day. I am building guitar effects pedals and am slowly getting better at that too. I already had far too many guitar effects pedals and now I have a growing collection of guitar effects pedals that are homemade and not very good. I did send one to a friend in the post, that was nice.

More energy would be good. Thanks for reading.

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Dan Barrett

Head of Data Science at Citizens Advice. These are my personal thoughts on work.