What’s your on-line brand?

It’s mid January and the Modeling Global User Community is about 7 weeks into our We Be Normal social networking contest and promotion. Earlier this week we randomly selected four of our First Normal Form (1NF) members as recipients of a $25 iTunes gift card. Congratulations to the winners; Theo van Westrienen, Jan Cohen, Sampath Kumar and Sara Yeager. It’s not too late to catch up with these folks and challenge them in the February Second Normal Form (2NF) prize drawing for two Apple iPod Nanos.
The Modeling Global User Community has over 1,400 members. Although our membership roster is high, our on-line interactions and participation in the user community message board, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are pretty sparse. The goal of the CA Technologies Why Be Normal and our We Be Normal promotions is to build a large on-line network of ERwin data professionals. I encourage you to participate. It’s fun, pretty easy to reach 1NF and 2NF, and an opportunity to learn new things and meet new people.
It got me thinking of why I participate in these social networking web sites and why other members of this community should join me. Networking is top on my list. These on-line sites give me an opportunity to get opinions from peers and experts around the globe in a pretty responsive time frame. They do this efficiently and without cost. Before social networking, this was primarily done at conferences and user group meetings.
Beyond networking, I think social media gives you an opportunity to give yourself an on-line brand. We all understand the concept of branding thanks to big guys like Microsoft, Apple, CA Technologies and IBM. Well, social networking gives you the opportunities to develop and cultivate your personal on-line brand.
Here’s an interesting exercise for you to try. Type your name into Google. What returns? This exercise, commonly known as ego surfing, can be quite telling. It demonstrates how careful we need to be with sharing our personal information and thoughts on-line. If your name is very common, it might bring up a mixed bag of web pages. If your name is unique, it is a more focused list. Take a few high level words from each of the returned entries and list them on a piece of paper. After about 20 entries, you can piece together a pretty accurate profile of who you are.
On-line branding involves taking a more active role in influencing what is returned by these Google queries. As a data professional, you most likely want your LinkedIn profile to appear early in the list. Want to build yourself up as a data or ERwin subject matter expert? Respond to message board posts, and comment of blogs related to ERwin, data warehousing, metadata, etc. They will most likely be indexed and appear in Google. Blogging is an excellent way to showcase your skills or interests. Most blogs appear pretty high on Google results.
I mention the above as a good reason to become a social networker and join our community on-line. You benefit personally from the knowledge exchanged with your peers. Your on-line brand will be shaped to what you want it to be by becoming an active community participant. It is not an overnight process but a gradual process. Google your name today and then comeback in six months and Google it again. If you have been participating in more social networking, I am sure your results will be quite diffident and much more favorable. Logon to LinkedIn, the MGUC portal, Facebook or Twitter and begin shaping your brand today.
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.
Follow ERwin online through Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Twitter: @ERwinModeling and #YBNormal
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