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At the beginning of 2011, I conducted sessions with new colleagues joining our SAP office in Vancouver that introduced them to SCN and how they can create an online brand for themselves. I soon realized that the exercise of creating an online brand was a bit superficial, and that creating a presence alone didn’t give individuals (or organizations) and those in their networks enough value. My opinion is that beyond building an online brand for ourselves, we are really seeking to build our online reputation, because we can derive more value from this.

Distinguishing between online brand and online reputation is important here. Thanks to those who participated in my Networking Lounge Session at SAP TechEd Madrid in November, I am concluding that our online brand is what others recognize us for, whereas our online reputation is how others will judge us by. Therefore, creating and improving your online brand becomes an exercise of public relations, typically involving the selection of the most popular and relevant social media tools to use and online communities to join (see my own examples below).

Building your online reputation takes a bit more work, because it requires the right sequence of engagement and actions to demonstrate that you are ‘for real,’ and that you can be trusted with those you engage. The fact that you are doing this in an online setting makes it easier to do in some ways, and more difficult in others.

I can’t wait to share this video with you about some of the ways in the “New SCN” to build and improve your reputation, while also increasing your presence.

The following points are our humble recommendations:

  1. Create a presence
  2. Build your network
  3. Engage the community
  4. Share your expertise
  5. Show your community spirit
  6. [New!] Complete a mission and have fun!

(Check out the new and improved reputation program to see how we’ve made it easier to build your thought leadership!)

Feel free to re-order and add your own practices as well. It is important to engage with others, keep a positive attitude, and do it your own way.

“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” –Confucius

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11 Comments

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  1. Kevin Grove
    Jason:

    Thanks for the video tour of some of the new SCN features. One thing that I would emphasize is that people should not be intimidated by getting involved. The SCN community is quite supportive and inclusive. One of the easiest ways to begin involvement is to provide feedback by commenting on other’s blog posts. If you have experience in a topic that is blogged, provide that viewpoint. Often the discussions in the comments sections are as important as the original blog.

    SCN is only one facet of the an online presence. Twitter in particular is an awesome way to keep up with #SAP and #EnSw technology and trends.

    Most importantly, a solid online Social Media presence is starting to be noticed as another way to add value to one’s career standing and is being noticed by recruiters.

    Thanks for another helpful blog.

    Regards,

    Kevin Grove

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    1. Jason Cao Post author
      Hi Kevin,
      Thanks very much for your points, and for demonstrating how easy and effective it is to provide a blog comment. In one of my previous blogs (Between You and Me: Think-Blog-Think), the wealth of expertise members shared through comments well-surpassed the value of the original blog post. Coincidentally, the comments were exactly about getting involved and providing blog feedback.

      I really like Twitter as well to stay in touch with what others are saying and sharing. It’s important to make sure online presence shows the alignment between your brand and reputation.

      Regards,
      Jason

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  2. Michelle Crapo
    I liked this blog because it showed some of the newer features of SCN.  It also talked about the basics of how to show my appreciation for other’s contributions on SCN.  (Like and stars)

    Then there was a reason why I sat back in my chair this morning and shook my head.  I thought wow, you really have to want to build your reputation to contribute.  MMmmm… Is that true?  Why do I contribute?  I like building a network of people to talk with about this crazy thing called SAP.  I like having fun.  And yes, it is fun commenting, writing blogs, updating WIKIs and helping someone else.

    Now I understand reputation is something to think about.  But I hope it won’t stop people from contributing, just for the fun of it.

    Side note – I think you have to feel strongly – or at least something – about the information you create.  It’s a great place just to express your opinion.  (Like now.)

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    1. Jason Cao Post author
      Hi Michelle,
      Thanks first for reading the post and watching the video! Thanks also for not taking what I’ve posted at face value, and instead, reflecting on it, applying your critical thinking skills, and asking more questions. Finally, thanks for sharing your thoughts with the community and not keeping them to yourself!

      I read a 2007 study by a couple of researchers (Moore and Serva) who considered why people contribute to virtual communities. They found 14 distinct motivational categories, including altruism, belonging, collaboration, egoism, empathy, self-expression, knowledge, and reputation. These are just general categories that are expressed in different ways, such as public duty, taking pleasure in sense of belonging, influence, etc. Some factors are stronger than others, and different combinations exist, depending on individuals and types of communities. I think this is important and tells us there are different reasons and different motivators for member contributions on SCN.

      Whatever the motivation for a member to contribute to SCN, we want to make participation as easy as possible. For those who want to build their online reputation (or are learning about the importance of reputation), I submit that this requires more work than simply creating presence. Finally, I’d like to harness the passion of members like you, and challenge the notion that the effort and process of building an online reputation can’t also be fun. (I’m sure gamification has a role here.)

      Regards,
      Jason

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      1. Michelle Crapo
        Hi Jason!

        I love your blogs, and your voice.  You are one of those people that are excited about what you are doing!  I love it.

        I am laughing though.  When do I ever keep my thoughts to myself?  Sometimes that isn’t a good thing.

        A STUDY!!!  How horrifying is that?  Something actually based on fact?  I’ll have to look up some of those.  They would be interesting to me. I would love to understand why people are involved in SCN.  Maybe that would help me promote more involvement.

        Online reputation – I really do believe it is important.  My blogs are whimsical at times, ranting at times, and sometimes don’t give a lot of information.  They however, are an extension of me.  And by definition that makes them part of my reputation.  And hey, even this response is part of my reputation.  For good or bad.

        I agree – motivation doesn’t really matter – just so people are involved.  But you knew that!  Just doing it matters.

        Fun?  Yes, it is fun for me.  Now you are making me think and here it is early morning.  YUCK!  Fun is part of my reputation too – I hope it is at least.  I try not to take myself too seriously.  And hope no one takes me too seriously.  SCN has to be fun for me.  I do it on off hours.  Usually not at work.  It takes my home time – OK my sleep time.  If I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t do it.

        Responsibility – yes, I feel a strong sense of responsibility.  Someone gives me a great answer to a question, and I look at how I can “pay” that back.  They never know nor do they care that I am giving something back because of them.  I read responses to my blogs, and then feel the responsibility to continue.

        I guess I do totally agree with you!  No fun.  Agreeing with you and not debating with you isn’t nearly as fun.

        My reputation is important to me.  I wouldn’t want to agree with something that I didn’t really agree with.  I have basic principles and values that I hope show through.  And that I hope is my reputation.

        Think before I type?  Probably not.  But I guess that’s part of my reputation too.

        I love these tips.  I also love the thought provoking idea behind a reputation.  It makes me think of the forums where there are simply links posted as answers.  Ahhhhhh!  If we could get rid of those because someone didn’t want that as part of their reputation.  That would be a great thing!

        But I just hope that worrying about your on-line reputation doesn’t stop you from posting.  Sometimes we post “wrong” things according to the comments.  But I learn so much from posting something “wrong”.  The comments teach me and maybe that next guy how to do it right.  I would never purposely post a wrong solution.  But it does happen.  When it does, I think it would only hurt your reputation in the way that you responded.

        And yes, I dance like nobody is watching, I sing very loudly and off-tune in my car too!  Sometimes people look at me a little strange at the stop lights.

        Michelle

        I had to write my long response…  You would think I was sick if I didn’t.  Have a great day everyone!

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        1. Jason Cao Post author
          And I love your long responses, Michelle!
          Not everyone is as willing and able to be as uninhibited as you are to share your thoughts, and to do it so eloquently. It was just a guess (and thanks for confirming) that you dance like nobody’s watching. (LOL!)

          I wouldn’t wish everyone on SCN were as open as you though – only because I appreciate the diversity of our members, and think this makes the ommunity special. Plus, there is only one Michelle Crapo!

          What one does and says here on SCN contributes to his/her image and reputation, so we all must take care of what we say or do. And you’re right, we shouldn’t let the fear of making mistakes slow us down from helping others, or achieving anything else that motivates us to contribute and participate in online communities.

          I remember what Yao Ming said at his keynote at SAP TechEd Beijing (addressing a largely Chinese audience): “Let your children make mistakes. This is how China will lead innovation.” There’s a lot of insight in this message, and I think we can all apply some of Yao Ming’s wisdom to SCN. Openness, courage and tolerance come to my mind.

          Regards,
          Jason

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    1. Jason Cao Post author
      Hi Nabheet,
      Thanks for your feedback! We’re excited about the upcoming features that will help us all get a bit more social, and improve ways to demonstrate our passion, interest and expertise to other members.

      Regards,
      Jason

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    1. Jason Cao Post author
      Yes!! Thanks Bikas for your support! I take all feedback and comments, no matter how long (Michelle ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) or short, as a sign that what I’m saying is significant enough for you to take action. I appreciate the positive feedback, which is another sign that we’re doing the right things for our members.

      Regards,
      Jason

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  3. Laure Cetin
    Hi Jason,

    Nice blog, and great video. As you know, I am as excited about the future of SCN as you are!
    Thank you for reminding us of what a personal brand is. I think that your brand is something you have more influence on. It’s the image that you build and present to the world. Your brand and your actions have an effect on your reputation – but as you point out, reputation is what others think of you – and there you have some influence but less ๐Ÿ˜‰ Your actions count more.

    Thanks for a great blog that perfectly complements my latest post, an outlook of SCN reputation in 2012.

    Best,
    Laure

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