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It may just be my perception, but it seems that blogging (the real blogs, not the #notablogs) has taken on a whole new perspective on SAP Community Network.  There are still ‘newsy’ and ‘techie’ blogs, to be sure, and if I didn’t point out two of the most highly read, I would be remiss.

You can read graham.robinson’s Call to Arms or steinermatt’s The way of the Developer to see what I mean.  Always keep your eye out for blogs by jocelyn.dart too (among my personal favorites is here)

But recently, there have been an increasing number of ‘social’ blogs.  Let’s start with the #blogitforward blogs, which was started by moshe.naveh.  A quick search on ‘Blog it Forward’ reveals over 140 blogs that have been written since August on this topic – from over 20 countries!  Many of these blogs were from first-timers – who were probably inspired by what they read from other #BIF-ers.  These blogs gave us all a chance to peek into the community, and read about our community members.  Where they are from (everywhere!), what they wanted to be as children (astronauts, doctors, dancers!), and who their heroes are.  (By the way, if you feel inspired, you can add yourself to the BIF Wiki and create your own BIF.  Extra points for initiative!)

I may be stretching things here, but I think that the Blog It Forward initiative may have opened up people’s minds as far as what this community means.  We are not all just here to get the answers to technical questions.  Sure, some folks are, and that’s fine – that’s how this network started.  But others are finding more than technical answers and ‘how-to’ blogs.  We are seeing blogs on sensitive topics that are generating huge streams of comments.  These blogs, and everyone who has read and commented on them, make me think that SAP Community Network has grown in the past several months – in ways that may have surprised many.

marilyn.pratt has long been making us think about issues that confront us all…Take a look at her Cyberbullying or #empathy blogs.  Marilyn always sparks many socially-conscious events, blogs and discussions. I know we have Marilyn to thank for bringing Sueng Chan ('Slim') to SAP TechEd LV, where he delivered a thoughtful and incredibly poignant talk about Realizing Empathy.

fred.verheul's recent blog following SAPTechEd Madrid may have touched off some nerves by bringing up some public perceptions on the SAP Mentor Initiative, but it’s all good! His blog opened up many eyes as to what this initiative is, and it garnered 73 comments.  I think if you read this blog, and then run into an SAP Mentor, perhaps you will find that they really do want to talk to you!

Then, tom.cenens  blogged about #empathy and #serendipity – and I love the way Tom tells us how some community members had an impromptu gathering to learn about empathy and design thinking, and brings it all home with some very personal insights.

We have people like moya.watson and tobias.trapp and an SAP 'n00b' kai.wurst who are all sharing their stories and strengths surrounding SAP’s ‘It Gets Better’ video, and the impact of bullying on the lives of our young people. Fehr

This stirring video is just part of the story, but I see lots of SAP Community voices – and they are all affected by the video and the stories that are shared. 

If there are over 31K views of this video, and the voices of the community continue to share the stories and the message, then this has to make some difference, doesn’t it? Their blogs are here: You can't go home and just  cry (Moya)  SAP is making it better (a personal view) (Tobias) and Kai's very first blog - Kudos Kai!  There is a community supporting you. 

The inimitable thorsten.franz , who has written so eloquently on a recent blog on Ageism, and followed thru with a podcast.  I believe the seeds for this blog were sown on Twitter, when someone discovered some callous remarks that were made  by a senior executive on the preferred age of his employees.  Even though Thorsten is merely a youthful 39 years of age(or so) his blog and podcast have sparked many comments.  And perhaps this blog has opened our own minds to additional hidden ‘isms’?  I am sure there will be more to come.

And SAP itself just announced a program to provide scholarships to US Veterans – to provide education and training in technology and analytics. 

So, besides giving you a link farm to some of my (most recent) favorite blogs, what am I really saying here?  I think we are evolving in the best possible way.  We are a group of virtual strangers, bound together only by our programming language(s), or our company’s choice of software, and have made this into something more.  We connect on so many more levels, and most of the time it improves all of us.  I am so proud to be a member of this community, and so glad to be able to read, comment and grow - whether it's learning more about BPM, or the impact of cyberbullying.  I hope you feel as proud of this community's growth as I do.

Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no m...    Benjamin Franklin

I think Ben would be pretty proud of this community, don't you?