Unless you are part of the SAP Community team, you may not know that a few years back I was an editorial content person, behind the scenes, publishing the homepage for the BPX Community (and co-editing the then-SDN homepage). When I first became involved with Community, I was shy about publishing anything with my own name on it, preferring to hide behind an anonymous web page.
(Not really) me hiding behind a screen
It took courage to post anything with my own name on it, and it took the inimitable Marilyn Pratt to encourage me to dip my toe into the world of contributing. I began timidly, posting interviews and podcasts on behalf of other community members so I could highlight them on the homepage (we did that sort of thing back then), and posting content about the community pages themselves—meta content essentially. (For a real blast from the past, check out this old blog post from BPX days.)
Are you feeling shy about posting in the Community? Do you just read and absorb instead? Do you worry that you don’t have knowledge to share that will interest anyone here? You probably have more to share than you think, but overcoming that mental barrier can be difficult. You have to be willing to open yourself up to contribute, and that can be intimidating.
So here are three small things you can do to get started here, things that can help you get your feet wet, help you get a little more comfortable before you start posting a blog or answering questions (that is, after you have read our Rules of Engagement):
- Follow another person in the Community.
This is one of the simplest things you can do in the Community to get started. Do you enjoy consuming the blog posts of a particular Community member? Do you look forward to answers by a certain person in the Q&A area? Simply click on that person’s name in the blog post or the answer and it will take you to their profile. Once you are on the person’s profile, you can click Follow to get their posts in your own activity stream.
- Fill out your own profile; specifically, add a photo.
When you add a photo to your profile, it humanizes you; you’re no longer just a placeholder image, you’re a real person. If you then choose to participate, your photo appears as an avatar on your posts, drawing readers to and into your content. You can even go a step further and fill out the bio section of your profile, to help other members get a sense of who you are and what your area of expertise is, but having a photo is really key. (To add a photo to your profile, go to https://people.sap.com/ and click Edit in the photo area on the top left.)
- Put a Like, or post a comment, on a piece of content that you enjoyed.
This is a good way to “start small” and dip your toe into the world of engaging and posting. If you’re anything like me, or like the three Members of the Month I interviewed a few weeks back, you’ll find that once you start participating and you receive some positive feedback yourself, you’ll begin to feel that hesitancy fade, and before you know it you’ll feel comfortable enough to try sharing your knowledge by answering a question or maybe writing a full blog post. And then, be careful; participation can become addicting!
As an added bonus, if you complete number 1 described above, and you then also follow Jamie Cantrell’s blog post about blogger levels, you’ll earn that cool, purple Hello World! badge that you see many other Community members earning in my Weekly Mission & Badge Roundup posts. It’s that easy to get involved and join the fun, so what are you waiting for?