What do people in sports clubs, reading groups or meet-up groups have in common? Exactly, they share an interest, a commonality, what they can talk about, what they can exchange or what they can organize together. The need to exchange ideas with like-minded people and the resulting common interests have existed for centuries; yes, they go back to the beginning of mankind.
Now we are taking a time leap into the year 2018: the working world is talking about communities, community managers are shooting up all over the place, corporate structures are being broken up and moving away from hierarchies towards communities. Tools such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, Jive and others support this cross-hierarchical cooperation in organizations. Many still have respect for the new developments. What do I need to know in order to stay on the ball when it comes to organizational development? How does community-oriented cooperation work? And what actually lies behind the magic word “community”?
We want to demystify the term. When someone talks about a community, they are referring primarily to a group of people who have something in common: their common hobbies, their origins, their project goals, just to name a few examples. These groups need places where they can exchange ideas, where they can communicate with each other. With the advent of the Internet, more and more online communication spaces were created: I remember SchülerVZ and StudiVZ before Facebook came from the USA to German-speaking countries.
Today we romp around in Facebook groups, exchange ideas with neighbours via nebenan.de, find possible travel companions via couchsurfing.com and like-minded people on various topics in a town via MeetUp. For different purposes we interact online and in this context we speak of online communities.
In order to maintain an overview, it is not necessary to know all the tools. A basic understanding of how communities develop and that the connection between online and offline plays a major role in networking is crucial. It is a bottom-up development that is leading to the emergence of more and more social media platforms. So why not use this need for exchange in a professional context as well?
Colleagues come together to exchange ideas, to achieve common project goals or to form a mentoring program, thus forming a community. Various social collaboration tools can support this because they were created for community-oriented exchange and because they are more efficient than the eternal e-mail ping pong.
Have you become curious and would you like to learn more about what you need to consider when communicating and collaborating in communities? Then we would like to invite you to dive into the world of community management with us. “Where should I start?” you ask yourself? We have a few articles here as introductory reading for you. Have fun reading!
- Community With A Capital C
- MS Teams for more fun at work
- German Knowledge Blog on Digital Transformation
About the author
Kerstin Schachinger supports the Pokeshot team as a Workplace Learning Consultant. Combining experiences in adult education in Vienna and Berlin with her enthusiasm for training and her love of creating great content, she found instructional design, facilitating workshops and conducting webinars to be her favorite areas to work in. Kerstin’s linguistic background allows her to break down information and communicate complexity in an easy way, an essential skill when creating learning experiences for a wide variety of target groups.