We’re bringing the concept of #VideoTag to LinkedIn. What's #VideoTag, you ask? It's an online adaptation of the old schoolyard game. In short, you record a video of yourself, upload it to LinkedIn and tag others to respond. It’s a fun, easy way to spur conversation online by showing your [...]
As you might have heard, sasCommunity.org -- a wiki-based web site that has served as a user-sourced SAS repository for over a decade -- is winding down. This was a difficult decision taken by the volunteer advisory board that runs the site. However, the decision acknowledges a new reality: SAS professionals have many modern options for sharing and promoting their professional work, and they are using those options. In 2007, the birth year of sasCommunity.org, the technical/professional networking world was very different than it is today. LinkedIn was in its infancy. GitHub didn't exist. SAS Support Communities (communities.sas.com) was an experiment just getting started with a few discussion forums. sasCommunity.org (and its amazing volunteers) blazed a trail for SAS users to connect and share, and we'll always be grateful for that.
Even with the many alternatives we now have, the departure of sasCommunity.org will leave a gap in some of our professional sharing practices. In this article, I'll share some ideas that you can use to fill this gap, and to extend the reach of your SAS knowledge beyond just your SAS community colleagues. Specifically, I'll address how you can make the biggest splash and have an enduring impact with that traditional mode of SAS-knowledge sharing: the SAS conference paper.
Extending the reach of your SAS Global Forum paper
Like many of you, I've written and presented a few technical papers for SAS Global Forum (and also for its predecessor, SUGI). With each conference, SAS publishes a set of proceedings that provide perpetual access to the PDF version of my papers. If you know what you're looking for, you can find my papers in several ways:
- On the dedicated proceedings page for each conference year. For example, here's the collection from SAS Global Forum 2017.
- By searching the SAS support site, using the proper keywords that relate to my topics.
- By searching lexjansen.com -- a labor-of-love website by Lex Jansen, who indexes and makes it easy to find virtually all SAS-related conference papers.
All of these methods work with no additional effort from me. When your paper is published as part of a SAS conference, that content is automatically archived and findable within these conference assets. But for as far as this goes, there is opportunity to do so much more.
Write an article for SAS Support CommunitiessasCommunity.org supported the idea of "presenter pages" -- a mini-destination for information about your conference paper. As an author, you would create a page that contains the description of your paper, links to supporting code, and any other details that you wanted to lift out of the PDF version of your paper. Creating such a page required a bit of learning time with the wiki syntax, and just a small subset of paper presenters ever took the time to complete this step. (But some prolific contributors, such as Art Carpenter or Don Henderson, shared blurbs about dozens of their papers in this way.) Personally, I created a few pages on sasCommunity.org to support my own papers over the years.
SAS Support Communities offers a similar mechanism: the SAS Communities Library. Any community member can create an article to share his or her insights about a SAS related topic. A conference paper is a great opportunity to add to the SAS Communities Library and bring some more attention to your work. A communities article also serves as platform for readers to ask you questions about your work, as the library supports a commenting feature that allows for discussion.
Since sasCommunity.org has announced its retirement plans, I took this opportunity to create new articles on SAS Support Communities to address some of my previous papers. I also updated the content, where appropriate, to ensure that my examples work for modern releases of SAS. Here are two examples of presentation pages that I created on SAS Support Communities:
- Doing more with SAS Enterprise Guide automation (supporting a paper from 2012)
- Create your own client apps with SAS Integration Technologies (supporting a paper from 2013)
When you publish a topic in the SAS Communities Library, especially if it's a topic that people search for, your article will get an automatic boost in visitors thanks to the great search engine traffic that drives the communities site. With that in mind, use these guidelines when publishing:
- Use relevant key words/phrases in your article title. Cute and clever titles are a fun tradition in SAS conference papers, and you should definitely keep those intact within the body of your article. But reserve the title field for a more practical description of the content you're sharing.
- Include an image or two. Does your paper include an architecture diagram? A screen shot? A graph or plot? Use the Insert Photos button to add these to your article for visual interest and to give the reader a better idea of what's in your paper.
- Add a snippet of code. You don't have to attach all of your sample code with hundreds of program lines, but a little bit of code can help the reader with some context. Got lots of code? We'll cover that in the next section.
To get started with the process for creating an article...see this article!
Share your code on GitHub
SAS program code is an important feature in SAS conference papers. A code snippet in a PDF-style paper can help to illustrate your points, but you cannot effectively share entire programs or code libraries within this format. Code that is locked up in a PDF document is difficult for a reader to lift and reuse. It's also impossible to revise after the paper is published.
GitHub is a free service that supports sharing and collaboration for any code-based technology, including SAS. Anyone who works with code -- data scientists, programmers, application developers -- is familiar with GitHub at least as a reader. If you haven't done so already, it might be time to create your own GitHub account and share your useful SAS code. I have several GitHub repositories (or "repos" as we GitHub hipsters say) that are related to papers, blog posts, and books that I've written. It just feels like a natural way to share code. Occasionally a reader suggests an improvement or finds a bug, and I can change the code immediately. (Alas, I cannot go back in time and change a published paper...)
List your published work on your LinkedIn profile
So, you've presented your work at a major SAS conference! Your professional network needs to know this about you. You should list this as an accomplishment on your resume, and definitely on your LinkedIn profile.
LinkedIn offers a "publication" section -- perfect for listing books and papers that you've written. Or, you can add this to the "projects" section of your profile, especially if you collaborate with someone else that you want to include in this accomplishment. I have yet to add my entire back-catalog of conference papers, but I have added a few recent papers to my LinkedIn profile.
Bonus step: write about your experience in a LinkedIn article
Introspection has a special sort of currency on LinkedIn that doesn't always translate well to other places. A LinkedIn article -- a long-form post that you write from a first-person perspective -- gives you a chance to talk about the deeper meaning of your project. This can include the story of inspiration behind your conference paper, personal lessons that you learned along the way, and the impact that the project had in your workplace and on your career. This "color commentary" adds depth to how others see your work and experience, which helps them to learn more about you and what drives you.
Here are a few examples of what I'm talking about:
- Susan Slaughter (coauthor of The Little SAS Book) talks about her paper/presentation about SGPLOT.
- Here's a LinkedIn article that I wrote about a SAS Global Forum video series that I host -- a sort of "behind the scenes" story.
- And you should connect with/follow our favorite "SAS Nerd" Kirk Lafler. He's a master at sharing his SAS content on LinkedIn.
It's not about you. It's about us
The techniques I've shared here might sound like "how to promote yourself." Of course, that's important -- we each need to take responsibility for our own self-promotion and ensure that our professional achievements shine through. But more importantly, these steps play a big role helping your content to be findable -- even "stumble-uponable" (a word I've just invented). You've already invested a tremendous amount of work into researching your topic and crafting a paper and presentation -- take it the extra bit of distance to make sure that the rest of us can't miss it.
The post How to share your SAS knowledge with your professional network appeared first on The SAS Dummy.
These days, customization of social media profiles is crucial. Everyone can find images to populate their banners, walls and timelines. But sometimes, banner images don't quite cut it. Especially, if you're anything like me, you aren't satisfied with only one picture for your LinkedIn profile banner (particularly if you have multiple […]
Disclaimer: before you get overly excited, PROC EXPAT is not really an actual SAS procedure. Sadly, it will not transfer or translate your code based on location. But it does represent SAS’ expansion of the Customer Contact Center, and that’s good news for our users. Here’s the story behind my made-up proc.
“Buon giorno!” “Guten Tag!” “Bonjour!” Excitement is in the air, the team buzzes. I’m not at an international airport, I’m at the new SAS office in Dublin, Ireland. I’d been given a one-month assignment to help expand operations, providing training in the Customer Contact Center across channels to deliver exceptional customer support and create an enhanced customer experience around the globe. It was such a rewarding experience!
SAS is a global company with customers in 148 countries, at more than 80,000 sites. The EXPAT Procedure is what I’ve coined my month-long adventure in Dublin, training and supporting our newly expanded Customer Contact Center team. So, what does this mean for you? It means additional customer care and expanded hours for all your inquiries and requests. Win!
Bringing expanded customer service to Europe, Middle East and Africa
The expansion was announced last fall, when SAS revealed plans to open a new Inside Sales and Customer Contact Center in Dublin—an investment of around €40 million with a projected 150 new jobs to be created—to provide support across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
The new office models the US Customer Contact Center (and this is where I come in), providing support for customers in their channel of choice—be it social media, Live Chat, phone, email and/or web inquiries. We field general questions about SAS software, training, certifications or resources, as well as specific issues, like errors in your SAS log. The Customer Contact Center is here to assist, and now our customers in EMEA can benefit from the added support as well.
And we’re not just answering inquiries, we’re listening to our customers. We’re always looking at ways to make things easier to navigate, simpler to find, and faster to share. And we love customer feedback, whether direct or indirect, to enhance your experience with SAS.
The new team in Dublin is comprised of multi-lingual individuals with loads of experience in the tech industry. They have begun covering the United Kingdom, Ireland and Italy and it’s been amazing working with such a knowledgeable, patient and fun team with a great sense of humor. I think you’ll like them, too.
While I’ve been assisting with training the team on everything SAS, I’ve gotten a little training myself, working in a new office in a different country, surrounded by colleagues from more than 15 countries across the pond. A reminder of the wide reach of SAS, impact of Big Data analytics, and importance of our worldwide SAS users.
It’s an exciting time for the Customer Contact Center, SAS and our customers. If you’re located in EMEA, don’t hesitate to reach out to us!
PROC EXPAT – Expanding SAS’ global customer service was published on SAS Users.
.@philsimon on whether data governance is still relevant.
The post Data beyond boundaries: Reexamining the role of the data-governance council appeared first on The Data Roundtable.
.@philsimon on bridging the IT-business divide once and for all.
The post Overcoming the IT-Business Divide in an era of big data, Part 3 appeared first on The Data Roundtable.
While not on the same level of Rush, I do fancy myself a fan of The Who. I'm particularly fond of the band's 1973 epic, Quadrophenia. From the track "5:15": Inside outside, leave me alone Inside outside, nowhere is home Inside outside, where have I been? The inside-outside distinction is rather apropos […]
The post Data integration: Comparing traditional sources and big data appeared first on The Data Roundtable.
In my industry of data and computer science, precision is typically regarded as a virtue. The more exact that you can be, the better. Many of my colleagues are passionate about the idea, which isn't surprising for a statistical software company.
But in social media, precision is a stigma -- especially when applied to the number of followers or connections that you have. Do you have so few connections that it can be represented as an exact number? Well, I wouldn't go bragging about that!
For example, let's look at this new LinkedIn joiner (blurred to protect his identity). As of this writing he has only -- and exactly -- 15 connections! (For the record, I consider this guy to be a rising star; I'm sure that his connections will skyrocket very soon.)
Compare this to a more seasoned networker, shown below. LinkedIn won't tell us how many connections he has; perhaps they are beyond measure. We can see only that he has 500 or more LinkedIn connections. It might be 501 or it might be 500 million. It doesn't matter, according to LinkedIn. All you need to know is that this guy is a highly sought-after connection.
Let's create a SAS format to count connections, LinkedIn-style. It's simple: for cases of 500 or more, the label should be "500+". For fewer than 500, the label will be the embarrassingly precise actual number.
libname library (work); /* "library" is automatically searched for formats */ proc format lib=library; value linkedin 500 - high ='500+' /* all other values fall through to actual number */ ; run; /* test data */ data followers; length name $ 40 followers 8 displayed 8; format displayed linkedin.; infile datalines dsd; input name followers; displayed = followers; datalines; Chris Hemedinger, 776 Kevin Bacon, 100543 Norman Newbie, 3 Colleen Connector, 499 ; run;
Here's the result. Notice how the "displayed" value acts as sort of an equalizer among the super-connected. Once you've achieved a certain magnitude of connections, you're placed on par with all other "superstars".
Social sites like Instagram and Twitter operate on a different scale. While they still sacrifice precision when displaying a large number of "likes" or "followers", they do at least present a ballpark number that shows the magnitude of the activity. For example, instead of showing the exact follower count for Ronda Rousey (public figure, film star, MMA champ, and daughter of an experienced SAS presenter), Instagram simply truncates the number to the thousands and adds a "K".
To achieve the same in SAS, we can rely on a PICTURE format. This format contains the templates for what a number should look like, plus the multipliers to apply to get to the figure we want to display. Here's an example program, which I repurposed from the BIGMONEY example in SAS documentation.
proc format lib=library; picture social (round) 1E03-<1000000='000K' (mult=.001 ) 1E06-<1000000000='000.9M' (mult=.00001) 1E09-<1000000000000='000.9B' (mult=1E-08) 1E12-<1000000000000000='000.9T' (mult=1E-11); run; /* test data */ data likes (keep=actual displayed); format actual comma20. displayed social.; do i=1 to 12; actual=16**i; displayed = actual; output; end; run;
As you can see, the "displayed" values show you the magnitude of big "likes" in a cool-but-not-so-eagerly-precise way.
Here's my complete test program if you want to try it yourself. Happy networking!
Last year I shared this popular tip for counting how many times a web link has been shared on Twitter or Facebook. I use this technique daily to report on the social media "popularity" of our blog articles at SAS.
I wanted to add LinkedIn into the mix. Like Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn also has a REST-based API that can be used within a SAS program. For example, if I want to know how many times my recent post "It's raining analytics" has been shared on LinkedIn, I can use PROC HTTP to hit this URL:
Here is the JSON-formatted response (as of today):
Wow! That blog post has done pretty well on LinkedIn (with "count"=89) - it's my most-shared post this year.
Here's a SAS program that checks the LinkedIn shares for me:
%let url=http://blogs.sas.com/content/sasdummy/2013/01/15/its-raining-analytics/; /* temp holding area for LinkedIn response */ filename li temp; /* call the LinkedIn API */ proc http url="http://www.linkedin.com/countserv/count/share?url=&url." method='GET' /* proxyhost= if behind corp firewall */ out=li; run; /* use RegEx to gather the "count":n value */ data liresult (keep=url lishares); length line $ 1000 lishares 8; length url $ 300; url = "&url."; infile li; input line; if _n_ = 1 then do; retain li_regex; li_regex = prxparse("/\""count\""\:([0-9]*)/"); end; position = prxmatch(li_regex,line); if (position ^= 0) then do; call prxposn(li_regex, 1, start, length); lishares = substr(line,start,length); end; run; /* clear our temp response file */ filename li clear;
That's a lot of code to retrieve the answer for just one link. Thanks to the power of the SAS macro language, I can scale this to retrieve the values for an entire collection of links. With those results in hand, I can run other stats:
Of my 63 posts in the past 12 months, my links have been shared to LinkedIn an average of 4.58 times, with a total of 289 shares overall.
I'm not so naive that I consider these to be impressive numbers, but I've only just begun the habit of sharing my posts on LinkedIn. With this process as part of my daily blog reporting, I can now measure how my "LinkedIn engagement" improves as I share more content. Collect data, count, measure, report -- that's what it's all about, right?
Note: Many web articles, such as blog posts, can have multiple URLs. For example, the WordPress platform offers "short-link" GUID URLs as well as the longer, more descriptive URLs. While all of these different URLs might lead to the same page, LinkedIn counts only the URL you share. So if you are in the habit of publicizing different URLs for convenience or other tracking purposes, you might need to check each permutation of a page URL with this program to get the complete "LinkedIn shares" picture.