I've been home from TC18 just over a week, and came back full of energy and enthusiasm to continue building my online Tableau presence. This is similar to how I felt after attending my first conference in 2017, but now I’ve got a base to build upon. In 2017, I returned home excited about the Tableau Community and how open and helpful the community is. With that in mind, I set out with the goal to become a part of that community.
The first step was building up my Tableau Public profile. Before TC17, I had published 9 vizzes to my profile over the course of 2 years. Since TC17, I’ve published an additional 70 vizzes. I’d call this mission accomplished on step 1.
Step two was figuring out a way that I could engage with the community. After some encouragement from Zen Master Ken Flerlage, I started a Twitter account. I never thought I would do this, but found the content that is shared on Twitter to be helpful, interesting and entertaining.
At the beginning of 2018, I began participating in some of the weekly Makeover Monday and Workout Wednesday challenges. These were fun, and I really enjoyed the mental exercise that Workout Wednesday posed. However, I wasn’t always in love with the data. Talking with some colleagues, I found that I really gravitate towards historic data. In these conversations, the idea was born for Throwback Thursday, that would eventually become Throwback Data Thursday.
I realized that I was stepping into an area of the Tableau Community that was already pretty saturated in weekly challenges, but wanted to find an avenue to engage with the community and hold me accountable for creating a weekly viz. I also really liked the opportunity to write about what I was doing. Participation by the larger community has been hit or miss, but has been building in the past couple months leading into TC18. So that’s step 2 mostly covered.
In preparation for TC18, I decided to fundamentally alter my approach to the conference. At my first conference, I felt awkward and shy, preferring to attend the breakout sessions given by Zen Masters and Tableau trendsetters that I knew about, then leaving without saying hello, or introducing myself. This year, I still structured my schedule primarily by speakers (and content too of course), but was focused on making connections with the people that I’ve been engaging with over Twitter. I actually met and spoke with several people and strengthened the relationships that I’ve built over the past year.
The culmination of the conference and my efforts was Fanalytics on the last day of the conference. Hearing Lindsay Betzendahl speak about building your tribe and her road to becoming active in the community. Her story was similar to the path I’ve taken, and encouraged me to take the next step in my Tableau Community journey.
To date, though interacting with the community, I’ve been focused mostly on my growth. However, discussions at TC18 (and Fanalytics in particular) made me realize that, not only was it time to give back to the community, but that I was capable to give back. So, here I am, starting this blog. I’m sure I’ll continue to grow my Tableau, DataViz and other professional skills, but I’m also hoping to provide content that inspires, educates and drives the Tableau Community forward. Stay tuned for what I hope to be a fun ride!