Many of us have begun to learn about linked data and we are eager to share the movement with others. But, have you ever been unexpectedly put on the spot with this familiar question: "So what can you tell me about linked data?" Perhaps, like me, you have found yourself stumbling to define triples, RDF, SPARQL, and predicates and when all else fails resorting to some vague platitude about freeing data from silos as the person politely tries to escape the conversation. The question is NOT easy!
In order to interest more people in the subject, it would be fantastic if we all had a linked data elevator speech. Elevator speeches are quick and concise 1-3 minute "sales pitches" that present compelling information and spark interest, thereby "selling" linked data to unsuspecting bystanders in the time it takes to ride the elevator to your office. I've spent a little time looking for resources that might help me communicate the importance of linked data without all the jargon, technical complexity, and confusion of acronyms that seem to come with the LD territory. One resource that does this well is the website 5 Star Data. We have used their graphic in our presentations and I find it is a helpful tool to easily explain to people that not all data is created equal!
If we are going to make real progress gaining support for real life linked data projects, we need to identify and synthesize even more resources like these to help us craft our elevator speeches. One size may not fit all when it comes to sharing. The message may need to be tailored to target audiences including our staff, our colleagues in areas outside digital libraries, partners outside of libraries, funding agencies, and administrators but if we keep practicing we can all get a little better at selling linked data ideas. Who knows who you might run into in the line at the coffee shop.
If you have more ideas for improving linked data elevator speeches, please share in the comments!