Coworking at Social Media Week

I’ve just come back from a talk at the Social Media Week at the Aufbauhaus, an intriguing piece of architecture at the Moritzplatz in Berlin Kreuzberg, opposite the Betahaus. The topic of the talk kindly related to my work of the last two month: “Small Brands & Social Media: Become popular by building or joining a coworking community”. Let’s take a look at the panel.

Christoph Fahle, one of the six founders of the Betahaus and influential person in Berlin’s coworking scene.
Alexander Lang, initiator of co.up Coworking Space and founder of the Berlin software forge upstream.
Pedro Jardim from Agora Collective
Michael Hartung from House of Clouds
Host to the talk was Carsten Foertsch, founder of Deskmag and co-author to the highly regarded “Global Coworking Survey”, published together with Lukas de Pellegrin in 2010.
There was also one of the users of Betahaus, whose name I can’t seem to remember right now. If anybody knows, please leave a comment.

The round and the audience gathered informally in a side part of the bar, almost too informal, as it was hard to follow some of the speakers due to the noise around. However, all of the coworking operators sketched out their idea of coworking and their vision for their spaces. Once more it was striking how broad the concept of coworking is being defined, and hence how difficult it is to clearly demarcate it from other concepts of simple office sharing. Describing their approach to people and their ideas of the “atmosphere” of the spaces, the audience was widely showing interest in the topic.

I was and still am wondering, if the critical mix of users can be fostered and reached by clustering other, independent institutions, business and such in physical proximity to the coworking spaces, but none of the panellists could reply to that. That would be most interesting. As for concepts of community building, people spoke of critical mass and the importance of a figure head or host in the space, to specifically reach out to offline community members with analogue technologies. Classical socializing, I guess. Nothing dramatically new today.

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