7 reasons data modelers need to be social networkers

Social networking has become a force not to be taken lightly. It has grown well beyond sharing photos with friends and family on Facebook. As data professionals, we are personally seeing  how the growth of unstructured data and big data exploits the digital trail left by social networking. Savvy businesses and business professionals recognize the power of these networks.

I find myself dabbling more frequently in social networks. I unfortunately see few data modelers in my networks. I sell the value of social networking at every opportunity I have to speak to the data community. Today, I am sharing seven reasons why you need to be open your mind to take a step forward in joining data social networks.

  1. Data industry experts are already there.
    Almost every data industry expert has a blog, website and Twitter account. This gives you access to their white papers. Twitter lets you engage these people in conversations. In this new world, you have free and instantaneous access to their advice and thoughts.
  2. Software, hardware and technology venders are already there.
    Marketing collateral and technical support have gone digital. Tech support staff monitors Twitter, LinkedIn groups and message boards, responding to community questions. It’s easy to connect directly with key support resources. These interactions give you a leg up on what is on the horizon.
  3. It’s your job to keep yourself current.
    Technology is changing fast. Even the tried and true toolsets we use are changing quickly. Social networks are always on top of what features are coming. Do not underestimate the power of the voices in Twitter and LinkedIn. Vendors use this data to improve their software and add new features.
  4. IT magazines have gone e-magazine.
    The days of stacks of IT journals and magazines on your desk until you have time to read them are gone. On-line magazines allow for easy search and browsing. Most IT e-magazines publish daily and weekly e-newsletters. Often these are the subjects of data professional tweets and discussions.
  5. The local technology user community has gone on-line.
    I am a big time believer in the power of technology user communities. For years these communities met regularly in local user group meetings. These meetings have become less frequent over the years. They have been replaced with global social networks. The global user community gives communities greater access to more users, more information, wider discussions and a more global view of technology.
  6. The power to define your professional reputation.
    Socials networks give you a blank canvas to build your professional reputation. Blog posts and comments, forum posts and responses, and social network profiles build a profile of who you are, what your do and what your strengths are. Actively participating in e-seminars, webcasts, and virtual conferences give you visibility. It is naïve to believe recruiters and employers do not Google your name when considering you for employment. Make sure that Google search result says what you want about you.
  7. Free education and seminars.
    We all like free stuff. It is even better when education is free. Social networks give access to free e-seminars delivered by industry experts. Often software vendors rely on these experts to draw interest to their products. They are free for the taking. At the same time, vendors are hosting more virtual conferences saving you the time and expense of attending a conference in a distant city. These opportunities are the subjects of tweets, message board posts, and industry expert social network posts.

The above list is by no means complete. The reasons to be a social networker are diverse as the people in them. I hope that a few of the items speak to you. I hope that you add me to your social network as you take your baby steps into the virtual data community. You can find me by clicking on the social network icons at the top of this page.


I am presenting at Enterprise Data World 2014 in Austin, Texas.  I hope that you will join me in my session: And Other Duties as Assigned – Embracing New Roles to Grow in Your Enterprise. #EDW14

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