It only takes 10 minutes of your time

I’ve been blogging about my experience in the data community for about the past six months. It’s actually been a pretty enjoyable experience. I have always considered myself a techie guy over the years. As with many baby boomers in their 50s, I have been questioning how I can keep my skills technically pertinent in today’s tough economic and job climate. Blogging and dipping my foot into social media seemed like a good fit for me.
The web enabled world of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs and countless social networking sites has definitely changed the way we communicate and learn. Twitter has led me to many experts’ blogs that are just jam packed with good information on databases, data modeling, BI, data governance and data quality. I found myself moving outside the data community and exploring blogging and social networking. I now follow many of these folks and subscribe to RSS feeds of their blogs.
One of the most interesting things I have learned is how much you can learn in 10 minutes. I bring this up because I often hear from fellow data modelers that they just don’t have the time to do social networking. Reading a typical blog post or reading an article that was tweeted only takes 10 minutes. What’s even better, the post is generally categorized by topic so that I can further explore related posts. Sometimes a blog that you stumbled upon offers words of wisdom that goes beyond the blogger’s area of expertise and intended purpose. I’ll give you an example of what I am talking about.
I am in the midst of redesigning my personal blog, http://beariatric.com/ , a health and wellness blog for weight loss surgery patients. I spend my lunch hours and free evenings reading about blog design and WordPress. A few weeks back I came across http://www.problogger.net/. The blogger, Darren Rowse, blogs about how you can make money on blogs. After reading a few of Darren’s posts, I realized that he mostly speaks to how you can reach your target audience most effectively. Bingo! It hit me that this is not just about blogging. It applies to my day job as a data administrator.
I can almost translate all of his advice on delivering a quality blog into delivering a quality data model. One of Darren’s recent posts was “29 Ways to Keep Me Coming Back to Your Blog Again and Again”. That really hit home for me. I translated the advice into “how to keep by clients coming back to me for data solutions” and “how to keep them coming back to my data models”. You can read his post by following the hyperlink. Here are just a few of the items from the list. You can see they easily translate into our work as a data modelers.
  • Tell me a story.
  • Present me with some interesting research results.
  • Collate what other people say about….
  • Explain what something means.
  • Guide me through a process.
  • Solve a problem that I have.
I hope this week’s post gave you a different perspective on using social media in your life. The message I want to leave you with is that it indeed only takes 10 minutes of your time to learn something new. Challenge yourself to spend 10 minutes 3 times a day reading a blog post or following a tweet. After a few weeks, look back on where you have been over the past few weeks. I think you will agree that you exposed your self to new ideas and grew your knowledge 10 minutes at a time.

I’ve reached 2NF in “Why Be Normal?” How normalized are you?
Find out more about “Why Be Normal?” at http://erwin.com/whybenormal/. Want to know what “We Be Normal!” is all about? Visit https://communities.ca.com/web/ca-modeling-global-user-community/ to get the whole story.
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http://www.erwin.com
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Twitter: @ERwinModeling and #YBNormal
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