The last few years have seen the rise, and explosion, of social media. While fundamentally social media isn't introducing much that's different from actions in the real world, it is making the reach and speed at which we can communicate grow exponentially. Facebook will surpass a billion users soon and Twitter has exploded in the world. Even in the tiny SQL world, Twitter use has grown exponentially in the few years since I've used it. It you're unsure of what's happening there with regards to SQL Server, search the #sqlhelp hash tag and see what you find out.
All kinds of companies are starting to try and integrate this data into their systems. If you haven't yet, I suspect you might have to some time in the next few years. There's a short piece in how this data is in use at GM, and it's interesting to read. I don't know how seriously other companies take this, but I do see so many people "following the herd" and as more managers read about other managers implementing projects like this one, we'll see more adoption.
What's interesting here is that it gives us data professionals a number of new opportunities. From the sheer OLTP-type work of collecting and managing this data in real-time, or near real-time, to the need to add BI analysis to trends of data. I can see a lot of new projects, and new employment in this area. It wouldn't hurt to beef up your skills in this area, and maybe get a better understanding of how social media can work, as well as how you can manage the data.
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