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 Folks,

About 5 years ago my phone rang and caller ID showed an unfamiliar number with New York area code. At first, I thought about just letting it go to the voice mail (I get a lot of sales calls) but moved by a mysterious force I picked it up. On the other end of the line was none other than Marilyn Pratt of SAP, The Godmother of SCN. Can you imagine getting a surprise call from Lady Gaga or Dalai Lama? It felt exactly like that.

We talked for what seemed like an hour about SCN, how everyone was frustrated with the recent migration (lol, we had no clue what was coming in 2016) and, most importantly, what could be done to help the Community get back on track. As a result of our conspiracy, my first SCN blog was born.

Ancient History

Some of you might remember that before 2012 there was SDN (SAP Developer Network). Blogging on SDN was somewhat restricted and at least the first blogs were subject to review and approval by the moderators.

On SDN, I’ve never attempted to become a blogger for a variety of reasons. There were enough heavy-weight bloggers without me (mind you, those were the times when Thomas Jung and Rich Heilman made regular appearances in the ABAP forum), I didn’t like the idea of getting a “stamp of approval”, and I was quite content using a personal blog to scratch an occasional writing itch while getting enough SDN “pinots” by answering questions.

The Renaissance Era

When SDN evolved into SCN, the floodgates of blogging were opened, for better or for worse. The BIF initiative was sweeping the community and bringing into the spotlight many reluctant bloggers, myself included.

It was the time of the infamous “poetry blogs”, the “Top Liked” blog charts (that I managed to crush a couple of times), heated discussions in the comments (e.g. “OOP vs. procedural”) that sometimes resulted in more and more blogs. On SCN, I enjoyed certain blogging fame, for which I’m eternally grateful to Marilyn and every SCN member who found time to read my blogs and share a comment or just click the Like button.

Modern Times

Here we are, no longer SDN or SCN but “SAP Community” (SC?). Blog pre-moderation for newbies is back. No more “top liked”, no BIF and, sadly, no more Marilyn either (she’s not dead though, merely retired but still). All around post-apocalyptic landscape.

I have not posted a blog on SCN since January. It’s not like I ran out of the subjects. I’m pretty sure someone might enjoy reading about the ABAPosaurus’s struggle with OOP, for example. Or I could give another dressing-down in “Are you there, ASUG?” or follow with a sequel like “Y U No Love Leonardo?”

But instead of staying up late writing the SCN blogs I end up playing with virtual farms and restaurants and even contemplating posting a blog on LinkedIn. (And John Appleby already beat me to it, darn!)

What is happening?! Well, let’s see.

To invest time and emotional strength in blogging, some sort of reward needs to be involved. Of course, once in a while a subject comes along that we would feel much passion to blog about no matter whether anyone reads it. But, let’s be honest, no one actually wants to continue dropping the blogs into some kind of a black hole. Eventually even the most clueless and prolific bloggers need some digital pat on the back to go on.

When SAP Community finally opened for business in 2016, I was eager to get back on the blogging train. But after posting 3 blogs to the lukewarm response and no perks like a badge or even sense of accomplishment, the enthusiasm started to wane. For some time, I shrugged it off. Perhaps the subjects were not as compelling as I thought or people still had trouble getting used to the new website. Who knows? But when I started noticing that my activity feed is not exactly abuzz with new blog notifications and there are blogs like this one, a suspicion that it’s not just my lousy writing sunk in.

Wee Bit Data without IoT or Cloud

There was a story shared some time ago by ASUG how the New York City wine store owners used “Big Data with IoT and Now 25% more Cloud” (c) to figure out if they should open the store later. My first thought was “hmm, why couldn’t they simply ask their employees?” but then I guess people could be biased while data is supposed to be objective.

Very well. On SC, I don’t have “Big Data with IoT”, unfortunately, therefore I picked a random sample of the SCN blogs posted within 2 random consecutive weeks. I used RSS feed to open the blogs and captured basic information about them in a spreadsheet. Then, 2 weeks later I visited the blogs again to check if any changes happened. Other than a view increase and two blogs already removed (and justly so), I did not see significant changes during the second visit. Yada-yada-yada, let’s see some numbers.

As luck would have it, in the chosen time period both Rich Heilman and Thomas Jung decided to post a blog. The numbers for the top 3 blogs were clearly much higher than in the average Joe and Jane’s blogs, so I also checked the numbers with the top 3 blogs excluded:

 

And to hit that last nail on the head: the blogs with 0 likes or comments – 70.6%. Ouch.

And the Action I Want You To Take… Uhm…

Dale Carnegie course (which I was forced to take years ago because I had “communication issues”) taught us to end a speech with “And the action I want you to take is…” clause. This would seem fitting here if only it was so easy.

Sure, some sort of gamification, possible comeback of @-mentions and some other features are on the roadmap somewhere over the rainbow. But imagine you are on a long road trip and you are hungry. Will it help you that McDonalds is on the map somewhere? Unless the map is edible, I guess not.

To be honest, at this point I simply do not know what specific actions could get me and others excited about blogging in the SAP Community again. And I fear that we crossed the point when we are not even looking for McDonalds anymore and moving on to Burger King or Wendy’s. Oh, that reminds me – I have a virtual restaurant to take care of! Gotta run.

 

————

*) Title shamelessly borrowed from the Scissor Sisters song I don’t feel like dancin’. Warning: the song might get stuck in your head for days.

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76 Comments

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  1. Tammy Powlas

    Hi Jelena – so nice to see you blogging again.  I enjoyed reading this.

    I still “blog” but you are right, I don’t end it with a call to action, something Marilyn encouraged on old SDN.

     

    Something else I learned on old SDN from the great Dennis Howlett – I blog for myself.  I take notes on things so I’ll remember, so why not share?

    Selfishly, I hope you make a return to blogging – no badge required 🙂

    And on old SDN – another top contributor said something like “being top contributor  – it won’t even get you a drink at the bar”.  I don’t (can’t) drink but all in all we should contribute for ourselves.  More times than not in a week I’m stuck on something at work and 99% of the time someone has kindly answered a similar question here on the site…pay it forward.

     

    Cheers,

    Tammy

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    1. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

      Tammy, I know what you’re saying. As I mentioned, there is always some kind of reward. I guess that in your case it’s just the internal satisfaction of doing something helpful, “paying it forward”. (And I have to confess I usually make a point to at least “like” your blogs. 🙂 )

      But I’ve just found myself at a point when even my inner self is apparently not satisfied. So if something does not make you happy – why do it? Life is too short.

      And thank you for promoting this on Twitter!

      (3) 
    2. Michelle Crapo

      <sigh> Tammy and Jelena, you make me want to try to get one through again…..    Well hopefully the one about the SAPTeched class will make it.    🙂

      (3) 
  2. Matt Harding

    Hi Jelena,

    I was surprisingly logged in for once while I was reading this so thought I would say – Thanks for blogging; and I really hope these metrics are missing blogs read in Pocket and similar! Very sad statistics from a platform that was once the best in its league!

    Anyway, number 1 action to take in my opinion – Fix SAP authentication so I can stay logged in and select which account I’m working with (if I have multiple)! Number 2 action – No idea either…

    Keep bloggin’,

    Matt

    (6) 
    1. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

      Matt, thanks for the comment and I’m glad you were able to login. As I have recently discovered myself, using more than one user ID on sap.com is pain in the back.

      Prior to that, I used the same S-ID for years and kind of thought that moaning and groaning about login are slightly exaggerated. But now I know – OMG, it is so, so terribly bad! And, sadly, it’s possible that people who work at SAP for many years and also happily use one account are just as clueless as I was.

       

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  3. Marilyn Pratt

    From somewhere deep inside a somewhat haunted house (pictured in this post above and invoked by you the medium, Jelena and Tammy , the channeler of dead departed spirits, in her twitter mention) come I, like some ghostly ectoplasm called back at a seance… LOL.

    And while I usually do not choose to live in the past, I feel for you that your “present” here isn’t as joyous a place as it once was, Jelena.

    And unlike Dennis H. and Tammy P., I don’t agree that blogging is a solo sport.  Like any great art, it derives its true value from acknowledgement, external validation and viewing. And rather than soliloquy it is, when done well, a dialogue between content creator and audience.  When well done:it motivates and inspires.

    Through these last years, I’ve found much entertainment, edutainment, intelligence, wit, and candor in your postings.  It would be a sad thing for you to cease to create them, and yet perhaps it is the nature of all ecosystems and communities.  They have their purpose and their zenith and then they morph into something else of value at best….but all too often, wither and die.

    You’ll find your voice again when you find your new tribe….and/or purpose.  Lying fallow isn’t always a tragedy.  I’ve spent the last two years doing it (thanks to the sage advice of my partner) and although I have fond feelings for the friends and family of SDN, SCN, SC?…. I found I needed some distance to recharge.

    So play your Scissor Sister music and tap your feet, if not dance outright, ’cause:

    “Cities come and cities go just like the old empires
    When all you do is change your clothes and call that versatile”

    Thanks for the momentary reincarnation!

     

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    1. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

      Marilyn, thanks so much for allowing me to cry on your digital shoulder and for coming back to life, if only for a fleeting moment. As usual, even your short comment shines with the trademark wisdom. Please know that your former “tribe” misses you daily.

      (2) 
  4. Veselina Peykova

    Stating the obvious: 8 hours after posting, your blog has more comments and likes than the averages (excluding top 3). If you also take into account, that you recently changed user IDs, this is a good achievement.  🙂
    I agree with Tammy – blog because you want to, or because you cannot help it 🙂

    What could help me engage more, rather than digesting content from my RSS, would be a return of blog rating system (not to be mistaken with gamification elements) and the option to sort/filter blogs in lists also per rating (and switch between own and other people’s rating).
    For most of the tags (except using SAP.com), I do not see much point in commenting: either I perceive the blog as well-written, I understood everything and I have nothing important to add (‘Gud blog!‘ is hopefully still frowned upon), or I think, that the content is …meh, in which case I don’t comment either, because I have to be nice…
    RSS is too convenient and unless I am going to post a comment, I am not visiting the site even to press the ‘like’ button. (Yes, I am ashamed).

     

    (4) 
    1. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

      I am guilty myself of not leaving feedback of the blogs lately. (Although these days just finding a “gud blog” is a challenge.)

      In a few cases, my comment simply got lost when posting because of some mystery “internal error” or our network issues at work. SCN does not save drafts, unfortunately.

      Scrolling all the way up to Like the blog seems pointless in many cases, although not sure moving the Like button to the bottom will make a huge difference (SCN team, please don’t take this as a change request).

      (0) 
  5. DJ Adams

    Hi Jelena. I followed a Tweet from Tammy to here, and, like Matt Harding, I just happened to have authenticated with the right SAP username in my browser this morning so I was actually able to access the SAP Community content, rather than be presented with an “auth wall” forcing me to either register a second or third user here (dj.adams2 for example) before proceeding, or edit my cookies to be able to proceed anonymously, or just walk away. Most times I choose the latter option.

     

    Anyway, the reason I enumerate the options of that painful process (one which IS being fixed, I have it on good and very trustworthy authority) is because I think that’s a big reason for the low viewing figures. It’s just TOO DIFFICULT TO ACCESS CONTENT, so people give up.

     

    In the very early days of SDN (I was a co-creator of SDN back in early 2003, along with some SAP folks including Mark Finnern, where we worked in conjunction with O’Reilly to form the first/prototype version of the site mechanics) there was a big debate about SDN being in danger of not taking off, as it was behind an auth(entication) wall, and (therefore, also) not even being indexed by Google. I remember giving a presentation on this and more at a SDN Meet in Walldorf shortly after the site went live.

     

    To your point about blogging, and perhaps more generally about engagement, I think the key factor is clear, at least in my mind: Friction.

     

    If it’s difficult to get to the blogging platform, people will give up reading and engaging, with a result that they’ll probably give up writing too. If you get to the blogging platform and it’s difficult to create a post, then all but the most determined (or those driven by reasons other than purely sharing knowledge) will persevere.

     

    People are motivated to write blog posts in different ways, but as Tammy points out, blogging for oneself is, in my humble opinion, the one true way that is not subject to outside influence. If a blogger is after recognition, or (heavens forbid) “ponits”, then these things are not directly under their control and there’s a risk of disappointment.

     

    But if you blog for yourself, and write posts for the sake of sharing, for the sake of (pleasantly) forcing yourself to learn and understand a topic so you can properly write about it, then everything is under your own control – you are determining your own destiny and reward.

     

    I’ve had my own blog since 2001 (http://pipetree.com/qmacro/blog/), and since then I’ve also been blogging in different locations (http://langram.org/ and http://www.bluefinsolutions.com/insights/dj-adams/ for example) so I have always had different outlets for writing, and not relied upon a platform over which I have little control (this one). I stopped blogging on the older SCN because it was far too painful to create content (the Jive platform), but continued to post on my own blog.

     

    The SAP Community is fabulous, full of awesome people, and we would not have it, nor the success of today’s SAP TechEd and other smaller SAP technical events, if it hadn’t been for the SAP Developer Network (SAP TechEd pre-SDN was quite a different affair). It has become a beast far beyond our control and perhaps needs re-taming, re-training, and re-loving. And yes, it needs some serious technical attention, but that will happen.

     

    Anyway, I don’t have a call to action, I just wrote this comment for myself 🙂

     

    ps another thing that turns me away from this new platform is that the comment formatting is broken. You add paragraphs, and they’re not honoured in the rendering. A very small point, but yet one more small knife wound that turns folks away. I’ve had to edit this to insert extra newlines so the comment is readable.

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    1. Nathan Genez

      I don’t know how many times we need to bring this up to SAP but their Cloud Identity tool is poorly designed.  Flat out doesn’t work to support it’s broad, multi-channel user community.  So.  Damn.  Frustrating.

      (2) 
    2. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

      DJ, I was just going to ask – hey, how did you get the paragraphs with blank lines? I guess 3 CRs does the trick. Oy vey…

       

      Could not agree with you more on all the login issues. And so far at least 3 other honorable Community members mentioned the same problem here. Someone needs to take notice.

      (0) 
      1. Matt Fraser

        Since I can never remember which part properly separates paragraphs vs which part does not (comments on answers vs comments on questions vs answers on questions vs comments on blogs, vs questions themselves vs blogs themselves… it’s a jungle out there!), I find after submitting a reply that I often have to immediately edit it to add in the blank lines. Then after re-submitting I usually find a typo or two, and edit again…

        (2) 
  6. Fred Verheul

    Thanks for writing another excellent blog post Jelena. I hardly read much these days (RSS to the rescue), but this one was, despite the sad topic, entertaining to read.

     

    The statistic that struck me most (well, not really, obviously) was that two out of each three blogs are written by SAP employees. And most of these are push marketing. That doesn’t help to get back to a community platform. And I know, because they tell me every time, that the SCN team is trying hard to change culture within SAP, but it feels to me they’re not going to win that battle any time soon.

     

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts, and please keep blogging!

    (8) 
  7. John Moy

    Hi Jelena,

    Reading your blog takes me back to the good old days, where I enjoyed reading blogs on the old SDN / SCN and you had good, interesting and independent views shared (not marketing posts). THANK YOU for letting me relive that experience!

    I don’t look at blogs.sap.com much at all these days.  I was brought to this blog via Twitter (like some others have mentioned).  I liked it so much I decided to suffer the login process to comment here, which I don’t do that often.

    For me, I don’t blog here anymore after I lost control of my account.  You see I have multiple identities I guess.  These days I comment here as john.moy4 (on advice of SAP) but the old (SAP Mentor) John Moy is frozen in time as https://people.sap.com/john.moy3 , unable to edit or add to the blog roll.  For me this is another of the issues SAP has with managing identities.  And I’ve lost trust in a platform where I can’t control my identity and therefore I choose to blog elsewhere (and not as often, for other reasons).

    Thank you once again for letting me relive the experience of the old community 🙂

    Regards

    John

    (10) 
    1. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

      As Jelena-2, I stand with you in solidarity. 🙂

      If you cannot control your own “persona” on SCN and are at risk of getting disconnected from your past content, all your reputation, your follower network, etc. then what is even the point?

      It’s not enough that SAP allows to use S-IDs on SCN even though everyone knows it’s a suicide mission. But even for P-user you cannot change the email address! Looks like SAP needs to get down from that Cloud to Earth where people change jobs and emails.

      (4) 
  8. Frank Koehntopp

    Jelena,

    thank you SOOO much for writing this post – the one I did not dare to write, and the one I could not have written as well. It is a sign of the times that I naturally stumbled upon your blog through a tweet, not by looking at my activity feed.

     

    I had a hunch activity in the community isn’t what it used to be, but my latest blogs confirmed it: if you offer to give away $50 hardware for free and noone can be bothered something is afoot. (https://blogs.sap.com/2017/06/15/yubikey-security-key-giveaway/)

     

    In the absence of big data (pun intended) your guess is as good as mine. I’d *love* to see some actual data on how the participation and interaction has evolved – maybe some of our DataViz people can have a go?

     

    Re-launching a community platform twice, each time with a totally new UI, new ways of interacting and different incentive schemes is going to cost users for sure. There were good reasons to do it, and the team has done an out-of-this world effort to cope. Thank you for that!

     

    DJs comments about friction are another valid data point. ID Service may be an issue for a small number of people, but we know from eCommerce that every additional click to complete a transaction doubles the likelyhood to cancel.

     

    Personally, I think the blogs look great, but the Q&A UI doesn’t work for me at all – it looks like the UI tries to forcefully deny this should be a forum by wasting a huge amount of screen estate.But again, maybe that’s just me.

     

    The biggest challenge for the community – in my humble opinion – is that it now has to compete with A LOT of other social media which it didn’t have to back then. Twitter, Facebook, Slack, Jam, StackOverflow, Reddit – none of these mattered for SAP professionals when SDN started, now they do.

     

    Let’s face it: for the average user – the one we need to engage to build a community – SCN is a place where you need to go on purpose (to post a question in a forum), not a part of your daily dose of social media.

     

    This is a new challenge for SCN.This blog may be perfectly timed for TechEd, the pinnacle of community – let’s use the opportunity!

     

     

    (9) 
    1. Samuli Kaski

      In the absence of big data (pun intended) your guess is as good as mine. I’d *love* to see some actual data on how the participation and interaction has evolved – maybe some of our DataViz people can have a go?

      The Community Experience team has statistics on the community usage and if I remember correctly, there are plans to share them with the community. @Gali correct me if my memory plays tricks on me.

      (1) 
    2. Mike Howles

      Twitter, Facebook, Slack, Jam, StackOverflow, Reddit – none of these mattered for SAP professionals when SDN started, now they do.

       

      To be fair, I don’t think Jam is stealing anybody from SCN.  🙂

       

      (11) 
  9. Nathan Genez

    Jelena,

     

    Great blog and while it might not have been a goal of yours, it’s inspirational too.

     

    I have probably posted about 30 blogs on SCN but none since the migration.  For me, I want to reach customers and I don’t see many involved here, or on ASUG.com for that matter.

    (1) 
    1. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

      I suspect these days more SAP-related information is shared on Twitter, LinkedIn or some other sites than on SCN.

      Don’t even get me started on asug.com. They try to take the worst features from SCN and then make it as difficult to access as possible. Actually the whole ASUG seems to be going off the road lately but, err, that’s a subject for another blog. 🙂

      (1) 
      1. Colleen Hebbert

        The goat is definitely back https://blogs.sap.com/2017/07/03/how-the-goat-was-a-successful-failure

         

        @Jelena – thanks for this blog. It inspired me to get writing again too and get back to community. Without meaning to hijack your thread, I realised it’s up to all of us to build the community with the people we want. Sue Keohan sent me a link to your blog and I loved reading it – felt on the same page

         

         

        (2) 
  10. Remi Kaimal B

    Very different content – Loved reading it.

    True, with the migration, still have to get used to the new UI. But again, the content in the new portal is immensely vast. Wish i could get a track of the posts. See all the posts have been archived.

    Also, with the new version, yet have to attempt getting any new badges.

    I believe this is the case for me and many other community members – “still getting the hang” !!! and all set to “Rock”

    Thanks,
    Remi Kaimal

    #new SCN

    (1) 
  11. Moya Watson

    As the only SAP Employee to comment so far (?), let me also profusely thank you for this well written piece which is also quite constructive — and join an inner chorus that you probably can’t hear over Scissor Sisters chanting for you Not To Stop Blogging…

    To take a specific topic — I join you in being highly concerned about the ratio of SAP employee blogs to SAP community member non-employee blogs.  And as you might know, currently there is heavy moderation on a lot of employee blogs — published or pre-published.

    However, SAP employees do need a place to contribute user-generated content (marketing-oriented is not my particular style but no doubt we need that too).  I don’t see in recent experience that heavy moderation to remove blogs that are marketing-oriented – even slightly – or that, for example, announce webinars – is helping.  This just alienates content contributors and would-be content contributors, whether or not you like their content.

    Would technology such as filtering (SAP/non-SAP, marketing, tech) be able to help address this? There is merit in a common blogging platform, properly filtered, or?

     

    also my continued thanks to all the hard-working moderators and community evangelists, dead or alive 🙂   a quote from years ago from some web2 summit back when the web and we were all young and so full of hope:

    Your users are passionately pissed off – but at least they are passionate!

     

    (4) 
      1. Moya Watson

        I’m seriously hoping I didn’t come across the wrong way — so please clarify, whether here or on Twitter.

        As for passionate — passionately happy, passionately mad — both are or were good things back in the ol’ days – – it means people are, or want to be, engaged.  so if that’s what we’re aheming about?

         

        anyway,  all props to the community,

        -m

         

        (0) 
    1. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

      Moya, thank you for the comment! For some reason in the comments we can’t see the employee trapezoids or Mentor lemons. Isn’t 1DX great? 🙂

      Regarding the employee blogs – you might find this discussion of some interest. I have a feeling that many SAP employees are following Tammy’s advice above a bit too literally and are blogging “for themselves” without thinking what value their content adds and whether anyone could be possibly interested.

      I remember in the good old days the SAP trapezoid on SDN was more like a badge of honor. If you saw it you knew this is something solid and worth reading. But these days I’m afraid it’s almost the other way around – I see trapezoid next to the author’s name and it’s “ugh, again these people with their digital transformation blah blah blah”.

      This is something SAP needs to address as organization. As its own community, if you will.

      P.S. I loved your quote, by the way. 🙂

      (5) 
      1. Moya Watson

        That’s an honest shame, Jelena, that people used to thrill to see SAP employee blogs and now not.  Probably many different dynamics at play. Probably also some are feeling alienated in the same way you are.

        (0) 
      2. Jerry Janda

        I remember in the good old days the SAP trapezoid on SDN was more like a badge of honor. If you saw it you knew this is something solid and worth reading. But these days I’m afraid it’s almost the other way around – I see trapezoid next to the author’s name and it’s “ugh, again these people with their digital transformation blah blah blah”.

        I think that’s a sentiment many others share as well, Jelena. I’ve said jokingly (well…maybe half-jokingly) that the SAP logo is almost like a scarlet letter these days when posting.

        When advising SAP employees about blogging, I point them to the many guidelines out there. But I also tell them that as soon as members see the SAP logo next to a blogger’s name, they are already apprehensive before reading. And there is no shortage of examples of poorly received employee-written blogs — and I share them with any employee seeking advice about blogging.

        All of which makes me wonder…

        Here and in other recent (and not so recent) posts, I’m reading about the frustration with the quality of blogs (particularly blogs from SAP contributors). I had always been under the impression that a certain amoung of self-policing occurs within the community — meaning if the community isn’t happy with a blog, the community lets the blogger know via comments.

        I don’t think most bloggers set out to violate any rules, and they likely believe they are publishing something that readers might find useful. If the comments tell them otherwise, it’s pretty eye-opening. I’ve taken my fair share of criticism with my posts, and I’d like to think that it’s actually helped me communicate better with the community.

        There’s a great deal of discussion here of how positive reinforment (likes and good comments) can encourage people to blog more. Could the opposite also be true (negative reaction pushes out poorer quality)?

        –Jerry

        (0) 
        1. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

          Jerry, I’m afraid no one is going to let the author know in the comments. If this was an anonymous website we might see some “LOL WUT?” but it just ain’t happening on SCN.

          Something that clearly violates the posted rules gets reported to the moderators but it’s very rare actually. Poorly written / boring / uninformative blogs – I just move along. Sure, I could post a comment but turns out not everyone appreciates having their content called a “snoozefest” and I usually just don’t have time to translate my impression into something more palatable.

          In a few cases I’ve tried calling out someone on what does their blog have to do with SCN. The reply is usually something like “Many SAP customers are employing Millennials, so my random thought collection and copy-pastings from the Interwebs are totally relevant for SCN!” Rrrright… Sorry, I give up.

          But what’s worse, I believe we are suffering from what Mike aptly called Blog Pollution when many (most?) blogs are not even read.

          (2) 
    2. Jamie Cantrell

      Hi Moya,

      From a moderation-of-SAP-employees-blogs perspective, it’s a big part of what’s being considered in this larger Blogs governance re-envisioning that I am working on with other folks from the Community team.  We need a way to appropriately accommodate the needs of our various members, whether SAP employee or not, newbie or expert, author or moderator.  The governance program we have right now is not working well for anyone.

      Thanks to you and everyone else in this thread for your thoughts. I’m aware of the issues and feeling the pain myself, as many of the escalations are crossing my desk right now.  We are working on getting the new program in place with the greatest urgency.

      Thank you for continuing on with us, even in the form of holding our feet to the fire to get things done.

      Best,

      Jamie

      SAP Community Experience

      (2) 
      1. Moya Watson

        Thank you Jamie! fighting the good fight.  I hope you consider me your partner in crime if there’s anything i can do to help.

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  12. Bartosz Jarkowski

    Recently, I came across interesting Wikipedia article:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAP_Community_Network

    You can read there:

    “On April 28, 2013, the SAP Community Network was enhanced with the Jive Gamification Module (JGM). (…) In the first week after the launch of JGM, community actions increased by 1034% and active members (members with >0 points) increased by 516%. The Gamification Team at SAP/SCN continue to provide new missions that encourage healthy participation in the community.”

    best regards

    Bartosz

    (3) 
  13. Oliver Kohl

    Hi Jelena,

    thanks for the Ohrwurm. Love the Scissor Sisters since their fab interpretation of Comfortably Numb.

     

    Here is one perspective why we see these days less engagement on blog posts: we make it really hard to find good blog posts on the specific topics we are interested in.

     

    New blog posts go quickly down the blog roll on blogs.sap.com, and it isn’t easy to find the relevant content. No sorting by likes during a certain timeframe. Also the topic/tag pages don’t help much in that regard, and there are just too many spread out to seriously expect anybody to go hunting for content there. Content discovery is severely broken, and I attribute this to the drop of views and engagement, even on really good content.

     

    This is what we need to fix: provide much fewer pages that gather information and content around the topic that the community is talking about, and that make is super easy to browse and filter content of all types.

     

    I probably mostly agree with many things that have been said on this thread before (maybe except that we make it hard to publish a blog post), but SAP Community is still the place to find the biggest audience, relevant for the SAP ecosystem and all the user contributions. If me make it easier to discover them, we will fix a big problem that we currently have. And we are working on exactly that.

     

    Here is a digital pat on the back, just in case it helps to keep you motivated to continue with your contributions.

     

    Thanks,
    Oliver

     

    (and yes, the paragraph formatting is horrible…noted)

    (10) 
    1. Frank Koehntopp

      Here I am, reading comments on a serious enterprise software company’s blog, only to discover new great music I hadn’t heard before.

       

      What a time to be alive 😉

      (2) 
  14. Nigel James

    Thanks for this great post Jelana. I was musing the other day if I should be blogging and Robbo said I should be. I noted that he hadn’t done anything for a good while either. Now he has written two great posts.

    I remember sitting in a bar in Berlin or perhaps Munich and having a chat with people pre Jive (maybe 2005) and was putting in my 2 cents for WordPress as a platform while listening to a speaker/futurist talk about IoT.

    Well the future is now here and yet I feel less engaged with blogging than ever before and yet the experience is way better than anything we had back in the day.

    (Try telling that to the kids of today – they won’t believe you)

     

    (2) 
  15. Michelle Crapo

    Great blog!   Keep going.   Personally I like bejeweled blitz.   I don’t blog on SC? anymore.   I will shortly because I’m speaking at teched, but that is not a “real” blog.   It is more of a sales blog.   That I will get to publish ONLY if it is approved.    I am now a proud owner of yet another SC user.   It is my fifth, and it goes to an e-mail account I barely use.   I’m pretty sick of having to change user IDs.   So…

    I don’t blog – because

    • The politics of the blogging are maddening.  My last blog I was told that I couldn’t post it because of the nature of it.   And they very nicely pointed me to the rules!   My blog was a negative one about – of all places – SAP Teched.   I guess I wasn’t allowed to be negative about it.   I love going to Teched, and will stand on my head to get my employer to let me go.   I’ve been thinking about setting up my own page and blogging there.
    • I’m not on the latest and greatest SAP – yet, we have plans
    • There are subjects that I could blog about but won’t see the first reason.   That was like getting slapped on my hand.   Couldn’t they have taken the time to point out where my blog had to change instead of sending me to the rules.   I digress.
    • I rarely even use SC anymore.   I only use the archived version.  I used to justify the time blogging or answering questions based on the fact I found so many answers on SAP.  That could change when we “upgrade” or re-install to a newer version of SAP.
    • I don’t really care about medals or games or any of that.   I do care if someone is reading my blogs.
    • I think a lot of people aren’t on the latest and greatest.   If they are on the latest and greatest they don’t feel like the know it well enough to blog.

    I don’t read blogs:

    • They don’t pertain to me.   I’m not there yet with the technology.
    • But as you have demonstrated – very well – here, that’s not the only reason to blog.  To demo a a new idea or technology.
    • I’ve been working on OpenSAP training about every second I have.    It is amazing.  If you haven’t checked it out yet, you should.    I’m taking classes from Iot, Alice in the looking class (futuristic look) to design, copy… etc.   I’ve taken a lot.   EVERY single one has been helpful.   So where I used to find helpful blogs – I now have helpful classes.

    So if you aren’t on the latest and greatest – no worries.   Blogging can be done on design and how you do things.  I’m now encouraging “you” anyone who reads this – to do what I haven’t in a very long time.

    (5) 
    1. Moya Watson

       

      For one little piece of all the good stuff you shared:

      Very happy that you will be speaking at TechEd — and please do post your ‘sales’ blog about the session as Tammy and I asked… yeah it’s promotional but it’s a way to highlight your actual subject matter too – -and why someone would want therefore to attend the session.

      thank you for being here!

      (3) 
  16. Matt Fraser

    I just noticed that you put a little “2” in your avatar image; clever! And since you discussed the trials and tribulations of having to create a 2nd account, I feel justified in bringing it up in this thread. 😉

     

    So I too have not written a blog entry for quite some time. My last one was right at the launch of the new “SC” platform, so we’ll soon be at a year. There are many reasons for this, but yes, a certain feeling of “Will anyone even notice?” is part of that. And, some of what Michelle mentions plays into it, too — we’re not using HANA, or S/4, or Fiori, or anything IoT, etc, so would anyone even be interested in a blog about the old, basic, core ERP product? (To answer my own question the same way Michelle did, yes, in fact, I think they would. It just might not get highlighted on the front page, but nevertheless, this remains where most customers live today, and much of our job remains the same regardless of the product version.)

     

    Some of what Tammy said at the top of this comment thread is also true for me: I take notes on the more complex activities I perform, and some of my past technical “how-to” blogs have basically been cleaned up versions of my notes. I even sometimes refer back to my own blogs as checklists when I do those things again! Fortunately, since they’re linked right on my own profile, it’s not hard for me to find them, but if I ever lost my S-user….

     

    But… I’m not sure I’m interested in writing more technical blogs. I’d really rather write about the experience of being a Basis admin, or how to grow one’s Basis career, or how to be an effective technical lead on an SAP support team, or how to avoid stress in one’s job (I already wrote that one), or how to be open to change (I wrote that one, too — that was my last one, almost a year ago). Perhaps how to deal with disappointment when denied a promotion you applied for, and learning it was because of backroom politics in another department…. On how to be introspective and determine if a breakdown in cross-departmental communications might really be your own fault after all….

     

    But where to publish such blogs? Should that be in Careers? In NetWeaver? In Business Trends? I don’t know. If I publish in NetWeaver, well, I’m a moderator there, so… would that be abusing my moderator status to publish something that was a little bit off-topic, that another moderator might think was pushing the boundary? I worry more about abusing my “power” than I would about being moderated if I were not in this position.

     

    Writing a good blog, whether a technical “how-to” with decision guidance, or a career advice with similar guidance, takes quite a bit of time. I’m not interested in quickly whipping out a couple of paragraphs; I want the blog to be informative and useful, to delve deeply into the topic, to be well-formatted, to be visually interesting as well as verbally engaging. Doing that is an investment of much thought, and some rewriting, and investigation, so yeah, after all that I’d like for it be something other than a pebble dropped into a pond that doesn’t even cause a ripple.

     

    And, of course, since we’re talking about how much time it takes, workload and personal life does get in the way, too. It’s not just because of the new platform, or the lack of gamification, or the dropoff in engagement. I wrote a few blogs a while back, and that got me noticed back in the day, and that got me inducted into various other activities in the Community, and, irony of ironies, that has directly impacted how much time I have to devote to the activity that originally got me that notice.

     

    Ok, one final note: as others have said in this thread, I probably would not have noticed your blog if it hadn’t been brought to my attention some other way. In my case, it wasn’t Twitter, it was Jam, where Caetano Almeida posted a link to it, and I saw that and followed it. I’m thankful to him for that link, and I’m thankful to you for writing it.

     

    Cheers,
    Matt

    (6) 
        1. Joachim Rees

          Oh yes, I certainly do !

          (Edit: maybe not “follow the tag” in a SAP Community sense, but I’m subscribed to it via RSS, so I’ll notice very quickly if there are new blogs on that tag

          this just came to my mind, as someone might look at my profile an respond: “no, you don’t! [screenshot]” or something). 

          (1) 
    1. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

      Matt, no worries, got you covered. Simply use this blog template:

       

      1. State something obvious (“Outsourcing is a latest trend in the global economy”) or use a stereotype (“Rampant ageism in IT – the Millennials are taking our jewbs!”)
      2. [The whole story about missing promotion (or any subject of your liking)]
      3. Empty line, three asterisks, empty line
      4. “To learn more about the SAP solutions for talent management [or whatever could be remotely related to the subject] – click here.”

      This worked for generations of SAP employees so far. 🙂

       

      But I’m afraid in the current situation no matter where you place the blog on SCN it is more likely not to get the attention it deserves. Unless Tammy tweets about it. 🙂

      (7) 
      1. Matt Fraser

        Tammy tweeting appears to be the key! 26 likes and 47 comments so far… which rather skews all your carefully acquired statistics, eh? 😉

        (2) 
      2. Samuli Kaski

        Matt, no worries, got you covered. Simply use this blog template:

        … and remember to quote or have an opinion on the current political situation in the U.S. Maybe throw in a couple of S/4 HANA and SAP Cloud buzz words. That should do it.

        (3) 
    2. Steffi Warnecke

       

      I’d really rather write about the experience of being a Basis admin, or how to grow one’s Basis career, or how to be an effective technical lead on an SAP support team, or how to avoid stress in one’s job (I already wrote that one), or how to be open to change (I wrote that one, too — that was my last one, almost a year ago). Perhaps how to deal with disappointment when denied a promotion you applied for, and learning it was because of backroom politics in another department…. On how to be introspective and determine if a breakdown in cross-departmental communications might really be your own fault after all….

      Please do write those blogs, I’d love to read them! “Career” does not sound soo far fetched to me, though. At least put it as a secondary tag. Missing blogging with the CC tag now, don’t we? ^^

       

      (4) 
      1. Matt Fraser

        Some day… and that day may never come… (in my best gravelly Marlon Brando voice)… but some day, I may blog again…. 😉

        (0) 
        1. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

          Hey, maybe we should have some kind of “Blog It Forward Why I Don’t Blog” initiative?

          You already have like half of a blog in the comment above. 🙂

          TAG!

          (2) 
  17. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

    OK, I’m giving up on posting personal comments now. 🙂 I know y’all won’t get a nice notification or email if I don’t comment on your comment specifically (just one of the quirks of this cutting edge website) and I apologize for that.

    First of all – thank you, everyone, for your comments and kind words. I’m very glad to see at least some SDN veterans still around.

    While I very much appreciate this blog being promoted by other channels, how sad is that it seems hardly anyone discovered it via SCN itself? And I’m sort of a celebrity and a Mentor, for cripes sake, we even have Latest Mentor Blogs on the home page! (It’s only 3 items and doesn’t show the author but it’s better than nothing. Right?)

    Just like Michelle and Matt, I also sometimes feel left out from the big Big Data with IoT and Cloud party that seems to be taking over SCN. Most of my questions have already been answered in 2007. 🙂 Well, maybe it’s time to step out of the shadows and post something about SAPScript?

    (4) 
  18. Gali Kling Schneider

    Jelena,

    I’m so glad that you made the time investment (even at the expense of the farm! 😉 ) to blog on community again. And as you can see, you clearly struck a chord with many, as over 50 comments attest.

     

    I personally thank you, I loved reading both the post itself and all the comments here. Especially seeing so many friends, some who have not visited for a while and have been missed. I’ve also noted of course all the comments from those same friends and the concerns they have with the community’s current state. As Oliver noted, we are working to address but that is a topic for a separate post. I do want to voice my appreciation to those who took a moment to recognize everything the team is trying to do to improve the experience and to those actively trying to support us there too.

     

    I agree with what many wrote above, but I need to +1 on my hope that you and others continue to blog because you want to and of course having friends like Tammy tweet after certainly can’t hurt 🙂

    Gali

    (2) 
  19. Steffi Warnecke

    Finally another Jelena blog. I missed those!

    Reading it and the reactions brought back the old SCN feelings. And seeing goats, of course. And Marilyn! Oh my gosh!

    I don’t really have anything else to add, I liked the heck out of the blog and some comments that reflect my views, so I’m only kind of replying to continue to screw up the statistics. ^^

    (5) 
  20. Robert Russell

    Thanks for the blog and it did trigger some thoughts as to why I blog and I am with Tammy in that I blog for myself.
    Inspired by your your stats, I thought I would revisit the google sheets I shared of the data I collected in my Coffer Corner discussion here about blogs.

    https://answers.sap.com/articles/139632/status-update-counting-blogs-user-tags-and-comment.html
    From the count of blogs and comments I was happy with the actual data, just an unofficial dataset not from SAP and like yourself I collected this data via the RSS feeds. The charts are from Lumira with a standard running average added to the chart for the overall trend.


    Pure blog count by day indicates a decrease in blogging activity up to Feb 2017, although “anecdotally” I do think it is increasing recently but I have not collected stats for a while.

    As for comments, apart from two high peaks, which are two blogs about U.S. topics in October and Julie Plummer sharing some highly engaging posts on the 3rd Nov 2016 the comments are showing decline as well (probably to be expected if the overall blog count is slowing as well ;))

     

     

     

    (2) 
  21. Jarret Pazahanick

    Excellent blog Jelena as you are my favorite blogger left on SCN.  I could go on a rant with all the ways SAP has went backwards on the each of the various platform moves (which in theory should have made it better) and sad that a software company didnt see/want to protect and improve one of their crown jewels but that is for another day.

    Bloggers/writers will go where their content is read by their target audience which for the SAP community used to be SAP SCN but no longer. I have moved to the Linkedin Platform and am getting 20X the views and 50X the engagement there + still hitting the target audience of SAP/SF customers (due to how I am promoting it in LI groups, social media and other places).  On a side note, more decision makers are active on Linkedin than SCN so there is that angle as well. There was a time 4-5 years ago where SAP SCN was 20X vs Linkedin which tells you know much things have changed.  On a side, the fact this this blog only has ~900 views is a shame as if you had put in on LI you would have gotten more than that (even though the topic is another blogging platform).

    On a side note, once people leave they never come back which is why all the after the fact fixes are not going to work and SCN is in a downward spiral as without fresh INDEPENDENT content it becomes just another marketing arm of SAP which combined with the very poor usability and accessibility (Is SAP EVER going to fix their horrible log in issues (I have 25-30 different IDs for SAP/SF websites) is never going to drive customers which is ultimately the target audience for many blogs.

    (4) 
  22. Henrique Pinto

    We’ve gone through Pay it Backward times… sad.

    Clearly, some people who made decisions on the current SC (1DX?) state were not well equipped to do so. At least, some of them are gone.

    We could point fingers but the only thing to be done now is to revoke some of these decisions and go back to a state where people enjoy contributing again. Hopefully, that’s going to be sooner rather than later. I can only hope…

    (2) 
  23. Simone Milesi

    Hi Jelena!

    i saw the blog just because you choose to follow me with your new account and i got the email notification.

    Otherwise i would skip it.

    Right now, i do not find SC(??) attractive anymore: too much “background noise”, not the correct tools/tricks i need, too many information spreads in too many places.

    So… i just avoid it (with a great joy of some moderators i guess 🙂 ).

    But the spirit you have right now about blogging is the spirit i have (my wife complains i say too much times “me” and “i” ) about SC(??).

     

    i hope you keep blogging, because i love your style, so maybe others could find some inspiration and motivation to come back.

    (1) 
  24. Kenneth Moore

    Yep, kind of the same thing happens with Facebook or other social sites.  Nobody “likes” your posts anymore or people get tired of seeing other’s food choices 3-times per day.  You start adding almost strangers to your list of friends to boost your numbers.  Blah-blah-blah.  My personal reason for not frequenting SCN anymore is the site changed so much I can’t find anything.  Nothing is organized.  Maybe I’m having trouble adjusting, but I am just lost on the site.  It is not intuitive to me.  Other colleagues have expressed similarly.  Then everything is HANA, HANA, HANA and Cloud, Cloud.  ECC has been thrown to the wind it appears.  Even at SAP TechEd I have trouble finding sessions relevant for my system.  I read a BLOG recently and tried to follow the steps only to find out the system the blogger was using was an S/4 HANA system.  She didn’t think to mention which system she was on.  I had to ask since the steps were not working on my ECC system.  So the “youngsters” new to SAP have only been in S/4 HANA and didn’t seem to realize there were other previous versions? Just weird to me.  Guess this is sort of what the poor R/2 customers felt like in the late 90’s when R/3 came along.

     

    PS:  I have read a few of your blogs and enjoy them.  Not recently albeit 😐

    (3) 
    1. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

      Thanks for the comment! You are certainly not the only one lost here. I have bookmarked my usual places of activity (such as ABAP forum, err, questions) but other than that and the Coffee Corner I hardly venture elsewhere.

      And yes, ECC pretty much disappeared from the SAP conferences years ago. But I find it super-ironic that you don’t find the ECC content on SCN while in the earlier comments some SCN veterans noted how they feel they have nothing to write about because it’s not “cutting edgy” enough. One would think that SCN should connect such groups but instead it seems both sides feel no longer welcome.

      (1) 
  25. Joan ofulue

    Hello @Jelena Perfilijeva. Am glad I final get the gusto to shower you with the much deserved accolade. As a newbie in The SAP ecosystem, I find your blogs, and problem solving approach funny and engaging. You are my SAP virtual mentor- lol. So sorry I never asked your permission- One of those things that materialize without you being aware. When I seek answers to solutions, I am usually more interested in your solutions than any other member. I can’t seem to control such bias. After listening to the new SAP Customer influence sales and billing 2017 project, watching you contribute and reading Bill Mcdermott Winners’s dream where he incessantly mentioned “Coffee Corners”, my mind was made up that you are my SAP SC real MVP. I really hope I can write a blog post soon with beneficial contents since I always get discouraged, mostly because I think  don’t have any original or Leonardolike content.

     

    (1) 
    1. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

      Aaaawww, you are too kind. 🙂

      Bill McDermott mentioned Coffee Corner?! Get out of here! Wow, now I need to find that book.

      Thanks for your kind words! As you can see, there are many of us who are still interested in ECC, so let not the lack of “Leonardolikeness” discourage you.

      (2) 

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