Why Contribute to the Community?

Kasey HartEE Director of Community
I live and work in Savannah, GA as the EE Director of Community. It's a joy to build community for EE members!
In any peer network, member contributions are incredibly valuable because we are here to learn from each other. This member guide addresses the many many reasons why you should contribute. Sharing your knowledge and experience helps others, and has major perks for you and your career development!
None of us are born with an innate understanding of technology. Every one of us learns either by experience, or from others who came before us. We learn from our teachers, our mentors, and our peers.

As we approach the conversation of "why contribute to the community", it's important that we do so through the lens of who we are and what we believe. So before we jump in, here are a few starting thoughts:

  • Why community? We are all members of communities who we identify with and where we find a sense of personal belonging. Think about your neighborhood, your church, or your favorite sports team.

The fabric of every community is made up of people contributing to the group in one way or another. Members provide value to the group and simultaneously receive value from the group. Members who contribute in different ways is what makes our community world go round.

  • Who we are and what we believe: We are a collaborative community of technology professionals who believe that when we work together to learn and grow, we can have a positive impact in the most influential industry in the world.

  • Who is an EE Expert: Before we get to why to contribute, let’s talk about who can contribute.

You can  read this article to learn more, but the short version is: Everyone can. Everyone has knowledge and experience to share. The fact that we are living and working every single day makes us qualified and capable of sharing those experiences and lessons learned with other people. You don't have to be an 'expert' to share.

So, Why Contribute?

Let's face it. A collaborative community where like minded peers share their knowledge and help others out of the goodness of their hearts is surprising to see. I get asked all the time, why do EE members do it? Why do they help people solve problems and take their time to teach and give advice?

It's a fair question, and part of the answer is pretty simple. It's human nature to want to help others. Not super tangible, I know 🙂 but stay with me. We will get to the more tangible benefits of contributing as well. There are many reasons why members contribute to the community; and I think that the easiest way to explain and understand those reasons is by breaking them up into two categories: ‘Intrinsic’ reasons and ‘Extrinsic’ reasons.

Intrinsic motivation refers to doing something for internal satisfaction rather than an external reward. Let's refer to these as the ‘Community Value’. The things that make you, and your fellow members feel good.

Extrinsic motivation refers to doing something for the reward. Let's refer to these as the ‘Benefits and Recognition’. These are the more tangible things that are a result of contributions.

Both the intrinsic and extrinsic forms of motivation are great! In fact, both are essential to a healthy community of members contributing.

The Community Value (Intrinsic) 

Intrinsic motivation is one of the most important components of a healthy community because our intrinsic motivators tend to focus on the good of the group as a whole.

Helping others gives us purpose: This is an easy one. We are all looking for ways to "do good." And it's so easy when you're a member of a group that you identify with and care about, because you are connected to people who share your interests. Helping others is powerful. It gives us purpose. Here's what our members have to say about it:

"I just enjoy helping others. I know what it's like to have people at work relying on you to fix an issue and the pressure that can involve. It is good that people know they have somewhere to go to ask a question rather than relying on Google."

"I help the EE community in order to practice my troubleshooting skills and feel as if the value I have is meaningful."

Have a positive impact on your peers: Through sharing your knowledge and experiences, you can help someone succeed. How great does it feel when you help someone and they say, "Thank you. You have no idea how much this means to me." or "Thank you, I wouldn't be here without your help”? You can have a significant impact on the lives of your peers.

None of us got to where we are in our lives or our careers without the help and support of friends, peers, family, and mentors. Much of our own success we could likely attribute to people who helped us along the way.

You don't have to be the smartest person or the most active contributor in order to have a positive impact on someone. Even the smallest contributions go a long way and can have a lasting impact.

"It's fun and challenging and leaves a good feeling when you offer a helping hand....like many years ago when I was a newbie I always knew EE was the place to get help from your peers."

"Helping is one way of giving back my small support for others who are looking for assistance."

The intrinsic reasons (our community value) for contributing and helping others are foundational for a healthy collaborative community. In many ways, more foundational than the benefits and rewards that we will get into below. Why? Because we are working with people. It's important that we value each other and sincerely want to help each other.

Benefits and Recognition (Extrinsic) 

Contributing to the community certainly comes with its perks! One of the biggest misconceptions within any community is that members who primarily contribute are only providing value and are not receiving value themselves.

Not true, not true, not true!

Actively contributing by sharing your advice and creating content is arguably when members get the most value. Don't take my word for it though, keep reading and hear it directly from our members...

Improve your own skills and continue learning: Wait a second. You're telling me that by sharing my knowledge and helping others I will actually learn something new myself? By lending my advice and solving problems I can develop new skills? YEP. This is actually the most common tangible benefit of contributing to the wider community. We hear it time and time again.

"EE Keeps my skills sharp in addition to helping others solve issues that are often times mission critical to their organizations."

"I like to share my knowledge. I also learn a lot by helping others."

"I believe sharing our experience & knowledge is the best way to keep ourselves up to date in the technology industry"

Earn awards and recognition: Everyone loves to be recognized. We want to be seen and many of us want to stand out from the crowd. Contributing to the community gives you the opportunity to be recognized for your skills, your knowledge, and for the way that you effectively share that knowledge with others. Not only are awards fun, but it's something we can leverage in our own personal and professional development.

Showcase your contributions and grow your network: In today's day and age, real world experience is everything. Employers want to hire people who have experience. Students are eager to gain experience so that they can learn and be hired. Professional awards programs and certification programs want to see what you're doing in the real world. What better way to get real world knowledge and experience than by learning what questions people have and what problems they are running into on a daily basis.

Maybe you're a content creator and you're looking for an audience. Joining a network that can learn from the content you create is a great way to grow your influence and your audience.

Additionally, networking with people and forming connections can lead to a new job, a new employee, a new client, or a new friend! Here’s what our members say:

"I contribute to the community to keep myself up to date on what's going on in the real world. With EE, I am able to see lot more issues and this helps me to keep growing, I saved several issues for my clients, as I saw those issue in advance on EE."

"I contribute to complement my professional image and help others."

What Do I Do Now?

Get started! If you’re waiting for someone to give you the green light, here it is. You can join the rest of this community in contributing. You can start answering or asking questions, writing articles, creating tutorials and videos, and joining group discussions right now.

Why? Because we grow the most as individuals when we grow together. Because it will help develop your skills and grow your network. Contributing to the community connects us and gives us a sense of belonging and purpose. It motivates us to continue learning, develop new skills, and advance in our careers.

Our team wants to help you get started and make you feel as comfortable as possible when you dive in! We know that it can be intimidating, so below we have compiled a bunch of resources for you as a place to get started.

How to Participate and Start Contributing: 

We have put together a guide for you on the many different ways to participate in the community! You don't have to answer a bunch of questions or only ask questions.
Check out this guide:  Ways to Participate in the Community & How You Can Contribute.

Here are some other resources on why and how to contribute:

Why Write an Article?

How to Ask a Great Question (Yes, asking questions is a way of contributing!)

If you still have questions, or just don’t know where to start, please do not hesitate to reach out to our community team. We love talking to you. You can leave a comment below, or you can email us at community@experts-exchange.com 

❤️ Kasey 
Kasey HartEE Director of Community
I live and work in Savannah, GA as the EE Director of Community. It's a joy to build community for EE members!

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