Moments of Graph-Clarity

Recently, hacker and engineer at Medium, Tess Rinearson, wrote a piece about how Medium uses Neo4j to power their social functions. In it, she explains why Medium chose Neo4j, and how it uses Neo alongside GoSocial in an easy and agile way.
It makes a lot of sense to store social data in a graph database. Medium users, posts and collections are represented by graph nodes, and the edges between them describe relationships — users following users, users recommending posts, or users editing collections, to name a few common examples. Using a graph database also makes our queries simpler: we don’t have to do any complicated joins or other query wizardry.
After reading about Medium’s Graph Epiphany, Michael Hunger, Developer Evangelist for Neo Technology decided to share his own story: medium graph
Working with the graph database, it felt so natural to store data in the shape it originally had, without having to force it into structures it doesn’t naturally fit into. And getting it back out again in the different ways I wanted to, and quickly. Graph Thinking really is addictive. It is hard to look at complex data and not see the connections that are visible or hidden between the pieces of information, and that makes it so easy to explain it to other people. From complex protein structures and neuronal structures in biology, to relationships in your larger online and offline families and communities to networks of machines, services and users that form our working environments, connections shape the world. You cannot escape that fact.
Rik Van Bruggen chimed in on the conversation to share (part one) of his graph story. Coming from a business background, Rik tells the story of how he found Neo Technology, and why he bought into the notion that graphs are everywhere.
Emil’s vision of “Helping the world make sense of data” just really resonated with me. I knew what relational databases were like, and hated their “anti-relational” join patterns, and I had vaguely heard of networks, of graphs – and it just seemed to “click”. I instinctively liked it.
Community members have begun to join the conversation, sharing the moment they saw the light of the graph, and adding to our graph history (One user tells the tale of his graph epiphany that dates back to the 1980’s!) We want to invite you to share your story, how you came about graphs as an amazing data model for todays connected world, either as an individual user, open source collaborator or customer of a graph database like Neo4j. Write and post your own story, tweet them out and we’ll make sure to get you a personalized t-shirt to celebrate it.

Want to learn more about graph databases? Click below to get your free copy of O’Reilly’s Graph Databases ebook and discover how to use graph technologies for your application today.

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About the Author

Greta Workman,

Greta Workman Image

Greta Workman has about four years of marketing and external affairs experience through internships at CBS, Pfizer, and Columbia Business School, with some non-profit work scattered in there as well. She recently graduated from Barnard College of Columbia University in NYC with a degree in Political Economics


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