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SCN is a living and vibrant community and most of the projects, most of the SAP teams I know can’t live without the collective brain and knowledge of sdn. “Why don’t you look it up at sdn” is something that is regularly heard at least 10 times before lunch.

And I am proud to be part of the community, proud of my 250 pt T-Shirt even if the bright orange color is ugly and also a little bit more proud, that I am now promoted as advanced blogger.

But the reaction of the people around me, in the projects, when I talked about my “promotion” , was a real bummer. “Don’t you have a life” was most often the immediate response. “I got something more interesting to do after hours” was another quote.

These where the same people that always have an window open on their PCs with sdn running next to their SAPGUIS, ABAPs and Web Screens.

Speaking about information gathering, preaching about collaboration about the value of the community. And (now I am feeling defensive) – yes, I do have a life and friends – exactly because I value community and social behavior. A community of this size and this depth of knowledge can only live and thrive if GIVE and TAKE is in a healthy balance. Those who contribute, organize or add value to the community should be looked at as a great part of the community, just like a friend who helped you out with something.

And I encountered this Community and Reputation: Sarah Otner, which I think is a very important question.

Like in most communities, you can’t do much about the “leecher” and “lurker” (geek slang for people who only take out of communities) and of course, everybody is busy in their daily tasks and not everybody is a writer, blogger or hotline afficionado.

But hey, without all of us who spend the one or the other evening or weekend, just because we think that such a community has a value beyond pure business does not mean we are “these geeks from high school”.

On the other hand, we ARE all geeks and this is the beauty of sdn. But coming to age and reason as a geek, this means also that anticipating “GIVING” means also adding value and knowledge, and this means value for all of us.

Next time, you tell your coworker not to waste time writing for sdn, just think what additional time you had to spent in front of a SAP screen if there was no sdn at all to get a nice and welcomed timely advice.

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    1. Holger Stumm Post author
      Yes, this was in the very early beginning.. First, you would get nice SAP Golf Accessories from the SAP Gift Shop for points, then T-Shirts (in Bright Orange and Light Baby Blue) and now Fame and Fortune..
      Times are changing…
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        1. Holger Stumm Post author
          Hi Marilyn,
          you are right: This is another prove of sdn beeing a living community and rewards are now a global form of engagement, which is by far more important and useful than T-Shirts or Golf-Caps.
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  1. Mark Yolton
    Hi Holger:

    There is a “truism” in online / virtual communities called the “1% rule” which states essentially that 1% of the users / members will be highly active contributors, 9% will be occasionally or somewhat active participants, and the other 90% will be passive consumers of content driven by the 1% and 9%. 

    One post on this 1% rule here: http://customerevangelists.typepad.com/blog/2006/05/charting_wiki_p.html

    This generally holds true on wikipedia, on Yahoo Groups, and on just about any other community you might name.  I’ve even heard that more than 90% of all Twitter users post once and then are silent forever more… it just doesn’t stick for them.

    That’s all well and good, I suppose, although I would like our SAP communities to be different – more active, and more broadly-spread activity.  In many ways, we are … I and my team do collect data on Microsoft, Oracle, and other communities, and we are proud that our SAP community is MUCH more active (versus top-down, or inside-out information being driven by the company) than these.  But it’s still a small core percentage of people who are driving / producing / sharing most of the content. 

    While that’s all well and good, I think it’s wrong for anyone to criticize you or anyone else who is more actively giving, sharing, and helping other members.  It’s fine if someone chooses not to participate, but they have no room to belittle the collaborative nature of others – especially when on the other hand they are benefitting from that very sharing and willingness to help colleagues and “pay it forward” so generously. 

    In my book, anyone who contributes deserves our thanks and our appreciation. 

    Regards,
    Mark Yolton

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    1. Holger Stumm Post author
      Hi Mark,
      thanks for sharing this important facts. I wasn`t aware of the 1% rule, but it seems to reflect real life and experience.
      As more as I engage in preparation for the community day, as more I find out that SAP has created a community with a huge dynamic, that is constantly evolving and changing in a positive way. Managing a community to be open, growing and “living”  requires a fine balance of “control” and “let them do..”, not to speak of the “economy of scale” that lies behind.
      I am researching right now the “physics” behind information and social networks for my presentation and the laws of complexities behind these communities – 
      Giving the 2 million+ people at sdn, this is just amazing..
      So hats off at all of you managing SCN.
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  2. Alberto Castillo
    I could fall in the 9% of not being so constant in posting in SDN, this is basically because I am not that experienced but I cant take 10 or 15 minutes to post during working days when I have some free time just for the joy of helping someone else to solve his/her problem. So I think if I can do it any one can too but sadly there is more people that loves to take and not to give. I really hope that some day more people, specially from Latin America will be prone to give more than to take.
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