My first dive into Community management

I am spending lots of thoughts into how to start a community and how to make it a valuable place for its members to interact.

Why? Actually I am involved in the founding of at least two or three new communities at Siemens:

  • #LeadershipChallenge Community (this one will also go live 1.1.2019 on twitter via the account @LeadershipChalS!)
  • Two others, which are Siemens internal only

I am further engaged in guiding the #wol community within Siemens, which is at this time still rather passive.

All these topics are deeply linked with my global goals, so that I have a strong interest in communities to help people develop own competences within these topics.

Community fundaments:

First thing I did was to clarify my own perspective:


What drives me to contribute in communities:
1) create impact beyond my achievements by sharing them
2) learn from interactions and others’ experience
3) strengthen my network in the topic
4) grow from appreciation
5) charge my batteries for acting outside the #community

Secondly I had some inspiring talks to community experts inside and outside my company about what could be done to get a community to fly.

Principles to be achieved are:

  • Transparency on who, why, for which purpose founds the community.
  • Encourage people to contribute
  • Community is built for exchange and learning, not only distribution of news.
  • Joint vision of the community must be clearly defined.
  • Community consists of its members
  • Member is, whoever contributes. However readers are welcome.
  • #augenhoehe, respect and appreciation are fundamental principles for collaboration in this community.
  • Face to face meetings should be possible for the community to get to know each other.

Community founding – first steps:

First ideas for concrete steps to achieve the principles:

  1. Invite to a video conference to present and discuss the idea behind the planned community.
  2. ask the community (or the relevant group of people) to share, which topics they believe are most relevant for the communities joint topic.
  3. Collect the topics at a wiki or similar central page, available to all community members.
  4. Ask the community to moderate one topic from the list during one week (#cmooc style) in the community, thus populating the calendar for the next so many weeks.
  5. Support the moderators in moderating and empower them to prepare minimum of two things:
  6. – blog post Friday before start of the week
  7. – video conference session during the week for 1hour. (conference invite and scheduling supported by the community manager)
  8. Recorded life session is made available at the central wiki page.
  9. Introduce a joint Hashtag for the community for members to use for any posts in their desired platforms.
  10. Introduce a group at a preferred platform (I. E. #ESN, #linkedin or #discus (…) for all exchange and contributions.

Looking forward to implementing these ideas and experiencing their success. I’ll share my experience here.

In the meantime: comments, recomendations and your experiences are highly welcome.

Social Networking – paradigm change from Push to Pull communication

Yes, I am convinced social networks bring along vast opportunities to optimize efficiency in collaboration. Nevertheless I am asked plenty of times, why I see it this way.

I would like to anchor my answer by referencing to the strong variance in statisics within my Tweets on Twitter.

Example1: Tweet on Altruism seems to have met interest of only few in my network (208 views).

Example2: Tweet on support for planning a Barcamp at Siemens reached more than 4.5k views.

How does this lead to the conclusion, that social networks increase efficiency in communications?

The two examples illustrate, that the recipients are not selected by the sender of information. Instead the reach of a tweet is the result of its relevance for the network. How come?

  • The reach of tweets majorly depends on the network’s response.
  • Readers can promote posts by liking or retweeting.
  • Any like or retweet leads to increased audience thanks to social network algorithms.
  • Hashtags help drawing attention from those interested in the tweet’s content.

I guess this effect can be named by the **paradigm change from push to pull communication,** which I identify as key advantage of social networking.

Accordingly – feel free to like, comment and reference to this post ;). Looking forward to the network response – Yours, Benedikt Pape

PS: How does the image of fishermen (source: pixabay) match the topic? I like to associate social networks to the ocean, where tweets swim around and readers fish them out if their hashtag matches.

One year Networking – self-development at its best

Recently I celebrated my first networking anniversary. Twitter was my entrance to a whole new world of networking and personal development about one year ago. Since I didn’t ever believe, that Twitter would ever be so valuable for me, I feel it is a good time to look back and reflect what has happened during this year full of new inspiration.

My first Barcamp – setting up a Twitter account

My networking started out when I visited my first barcamp, the #PMCampMuc in Munich on project management. Standing together with other early arrivers in a bar the night before, I installed the Twitter App and created my account. I Still remember having some doubt, wether it is a good idea to use my realname as username, or if I should rather create something in the style of BenPM, for me to use it solely within the upcoming Barcamp, or within the PM-environment. Doubts I can gladly lay off today, answering them with confidence: Yes, having one accout and identity with full name has proven right for me. This gives me the benefit of being found simply with my name – my profile picture helps identification. More than one account? I wouldn’t have managed to keep track, and I’m glad I can just change topics without changing the account. There is one me and one account to it, and that feels just right.

Barcamp to kickstart tweeting?

During the barcamp I learned, that this would turn out to be a real booster for my social media activity. The physical, real life network emerging at the barcamp gave me purpose in sending tweets – to this crowd and the world. By using the predefinded hashtag #pmcampmuc, I knew meny of those, who would receive my post – this took away doubt in sending messages to an “unknown cloud” open to the whole world. And since nobody can be in all sessions at a time, it turned out valuable to read key learnings of others from parallel sessions on Twitter. Of course it helped a lot, that there was a majority of participants, having lots of experience tweeting. So in a nutshell, tweeting on the barcamp gave picture of the recipients and removed doubts about the purpose of posting publicly.

My network grows the more I tweet

What started in the real life community at the barcamp over two days, kept growing and expanding. My biggest learning about networking is, that my network grows the more I tweet. While I started out with the believe that I will need to spend time searching for relevant authors, I learned that sharing my experiences is the key to enable relevant authors and tweets to find me. This is when likes, comments and retweets come in. Whoever interacted with my tweets was usually interested in the same topics and therefore potential author to become part of my network. Particularly helpful of course, is the use of hashtags for the addressed topic. As an example I have shortly tweeted about #emobility, even though this is not one of my typical topics. Apparently due to using the respective hashtag, I achieved comments from other twitter users, obviously dedicated to #emobility. Accordingly a simple look into their timeline could give me quick insight to the topic and if I wanted to keep posted, I just needed to follow one of these enthusiasts’ account. This is without any searching from my side. This is what I feel to be a revolution in networking and even in learning to be unleashed by social networks.

My Twitter timeline became my expert journal

Once my network was evolving in Twitter, I experienced a principle change in manner, amount and topics of received information. Scanning news and journals ment losing lots of time for me. Time for searching and quality evaluation, since authors were mostly unknown to me. On Twitter I can select authors, who write in “my lenguage”, on topics of my interest. Of course this selection of authors needs regular review and update. I remember times, where I felt it difficult to keep track with the amount of tweets in my timeline. Whenever this happened I unfollowed some authors with big amount of less relevant tweets for me, and reading the timeline was promptly more fruitful again. It’s not long ago that I felt to have reached something very valuable. When I went through my timeline I felt encouraged to either like or comment every single one of the shown tweets. I believe, this is what I will aim to maintain – keeping my timeline 100% relevant to my personal demand.

My benefit of networking – beyond platforms

Often poepole asked me, what is the purpose of spending time with social networks. And my answer is:

Networking means learning to me, and stimulating the development of own potentials.

My social media activity emerged to be the guiding source of inspiration for my personal development of competences. In a retrospective, I have started to develop some of my probably strongest passions or potentials only after I started Networking. Twitter and Siemens Social Network brought me in touch with people working on topics, that exactly match my passions and strengths. In a retrospective I recognize that I have only discovered some of my strenths through the feedback received on my networks.

In a nutshell, networking adds the following values to my life:

  • Building networks with people working on the same passions
  • Exchange and inspiration on topics of my passions
  • Bringing up own strenths
  • Fostering self development

If you got inspired to share your networking experience, I’d love to find posts and comments with the hashtag #networking4me on all platforms. I will also use this Hashtag to promote this blog.

Thanks for reading! Looking forward to any interactions from your side!

Yours Benedikt Pape