We both just got the MVP renewal emails – although I must admit to having some April Fools fun this morning on Twitter and the MVP newsgroup :-)

It's a privilege being recognized as a top contributor to the SQL Community, not a right. We do what we do and we're recognized. As are several hundred other very worthy, *dedicated* people around the world every year (as SQL Server MVPs).

Dedicated to what though? Dedicated to self-aggrandizement and earning the MVP title again? No – dedicated to the community.

We both often get asked how to become an MVP – what do you have to do? And for how long? Is it worth it?

"Is it worth it?"… wow.

The answer is that if you're asking these questions, especially the last one, you're going about things the wrong way. Being involved in the community is all about being altruistic – the only reward you really get is knowing you've helped people, and their gratitude. Maybe some respect from your peers after a while. It feels good. If you're really into the community and do a bunch of things like running a user group, answering tons of questions on the MSDN forums, have a really good blog – then you'll get nominated for being an MVP. It's not a title that you're awarded and then *become*, it's something you're simply *recognized* as already being. (And yes, we nominate people to become MVPs who are doing great things.)

I find it dismaying that people think that being an MVP confers some degree of elite-ness, or will lead to a higher salary, or more consulting gigs. No – it just shows that you've been heavily involved in the community for quite a while. There's nothing more disheartening to me than seeing people be awarded the MVP status and then stop contributing to the community. Really, was that what it was all about?

It's like the recent spate of people found plagiarizing content (whether deliberately or not) to kickstart their SQL blogs. What does that achieve? Annoy the community and show readers you know how to cut-and-paste. You have to create your *own* content to be recognized as a community contributor. "If you build it, they will come" is a great quote I like to use. If you don't have anything new to say – don't worry about it. Just sit back and lurk. But you'd be surprised as the number of twists and angles on a particular theme that are interesting to a large number of people. Ok – </soapbox>

The SQL Community is one of the best technical communities I know of – very vibrant, lots of interesting and zany characters (many of whom I count as friends), and best of all, a *really* strong sense of being a community and sustaining itself as a community.

I'm proud to be a member of it, as should you be.