Don’t get me wrong. I never had any bad experience with Ubuntu community and I have a great opinion about it :-). But it’s clear to me that since I become an Ubuntu Member, my feelings about the community have evolved. And vice-versa, community’s view on me has changed too (probably even more). I would like to describe these changes, as well as the real benefits of Membership that I found most significant. Maybe this may encourage some to become a Member too, yet my aim is just to share my experience.
I am a Member since few months. That is much shorter then most of the other folks out there, but it’s short enough so that I remember and can compare how things got changed by the fact that I applied for Membership. In fact, I’d never expect how it all will change before I applied for membership! Trying to be as general as possible, I’ll avoid links to these certain things I do in the community, just to ensure I express only the feelings about the Membership itself.
To begin with, it’s clear that I am now a trusted person. I have a feeling that other community members note the fact that I am a Member, and they know that it represents that I have some long-term experience. I have no doubts I am now more easily trusted, which is *really* helpful whenever I try to contribute. A related phenomena is that my voice counts more, which allows me to be a bit more influential in some matters. Not that I want to take part in significant decisions, what I mean is that I am treated more seriously, and it goes without saying that it helps me a lot to make use of my good faith and enthusiasm. Both these advantages opened me gates to contributing more efficiently and with greater benefit for all sides.
Furthermore, I am now much more confident when it comes to interaction with the community. That means I do not hesitate when I need to contact someone else, whomever this person is. I know even better how community works, I know whom to ask for help in certain cases, I feel the “bonds” within the community, I made new friends. And probably interaction-related matters will get even more impressive on next UDS, which I plan to attend, thanks to Canonical sponsorship. Being more confident also allows me to share my experience and thoughts with others, which – at least to some degree – has proven to be beneficial for others.
I also feel greater responsibility, both when dealing with local community and general contributions, and I actually love it. Only very few people from my local community are aware of the fact that I am a Member, and I do not like to boast about it; but being one makes me feel a representative, and I consider as my duty to do my best to ensure my actions always result with good opinions about Ubuntu (and community) among those I deal with. Simply put: regardless of how much I liked Ubuntu before I got the Membership, now there is simply no way I could let anyone near me think that Ubuntu is crap ;-)
How about all these goodies that are showcased directly on the Membership page? To be honest, I have made use of only some of them. Syndication on Planet Ubuntu is a great thing, as it allows me to reach more people, and with greater audience I can be sure my words have at least a slight effect and that some articles reach those who may find them interesting or useful. Also, the @ubuntu.com e-mail sometimes helps me make my e-mails look much more serious then if they would be sent from any other address, which is of course useful only for Ubuntu-related correspondence.
As you may see, the “direct” goodies are much less significant then the way Membership changes my place in community. These “unofficial benefits” are actually what gives me power to be as awesome member of the community as I can! Does that mean the Membership wiki page is misleading potential Members? No way! And also there may be even no good way to mention these on that page, because these values cannot be granted. However, if you want to encourage someone to become a Member, do mention them!
I am really proud to be honored with this title. Please, never forget to make your actions worth the ‘Member’ title!
Concluding, was it worth to apply for Membership? No doubt.
(If you are one of these blackmailers who threaten me using comments below posts, here is a special note for you: please do not waste your time, I stop reading these comments after first few words and none of them appear on the site.)