The headline of a June 2010 article in the McKinsey Quarterly grabbed my attention: Unlocking the elusive potential of social networks. Who among us hasn’t occasionally wondered if social networking is all that it is cracked up to be, and what it takes to be successful. The author, Michael Zeisser, suggests several winning strategies, and it seems to me that the SAP Community Network has already adopted these strategies, becoming more valuable both to SAP and to the members.
Zeisser suggests that the road to success is to make the social network genuinely valuable to the participants, and he suggests two ways of doing that: conferring social importance on the users and using virtual items to stimulate social interaction that will, in turn, generate word of mouth. “Recognition by peers is a powerful motivator,” and the behavior of users is mirrored by their networks of friends in “contagions.”
I think that SAP is doing an outstanding job of creating opportunities for social importance in the SAP Communities Network, through the Contributors recognition program and the SAP Mentor Initiative. If you are not already familiar with these programs, I strongly encourage you to take a detour from this blog and read the linked pages. No matter where you are in your SAP solutions learning journey, there are activities available for you here in the SAP Community Network for learning, contributing, and recognition.
As for the virtual items that stimulate word of mouth, if you have not yet noticed the SAP Mentor recognition symbol sprinkled throughout this site, keep a look out for it. When you see it, you will know that you have found content contributed by leading members of our community who are eager to engage with you. Keep a look out for the SAP Mentor symbols at the upcoming SAP TechEd conferences, too, as Mentors will be found speaking, assisting with sessions, and engaging with conference attendees in the Community Clubhouse. Maybe being active in the SAP Community Network is contagious!