For German companies, tasks take priority over relationships, results are more important than the process and the individual is more significant than the group. This contrasts with 80 per cent of other countries and thus social media crowds. A cultural shock is almost pre-programmed when social media take hold in German companies, said Petra Sorge dos Santos, Business-Coach and owner of CL!C Connecting during her talk, “Modern culture shock: social media community meets German corporate culture“, during Hamburg’s Social Media Week which ended Friday.
Grasping the cultural background is the first step towards functioning collaboration. But an uphill path lies ahead, said dos Santos, adding: “It can take 50 years for a culture to change.” However, as soon as 17 to 19 per cent of employees in a company are comfortable with social media, then a major hurdle has been overcome and developments speed up.
Asked how to heat up this process, dos Santos replied: “Abstract concepts are not very helpful. But personal experience of how useful social media can be, sometimes works wonders.”
Stop being such a jerk in the internet
Deanna Zandt, a media technologist based in New York, has been online for 20 years and believes only real emotions can achieve things on the network. At present, emotions are running high on the internet. The discussion about refugees is met with hate messages, suspicions, accusations and threats. In the U.S., women of colour and female activists are being attacked online, said Zandt, and called for people to “stop being such a jerk in the internet.” Asked whether hatred or rather the poison on the internet reveals the dark side of technology, she replied: “No. It reveals humanity’s dark side.”
However, studies have shown that many haters on the internet have distorted views of reality. Their victims seem only partly real to them and thus do not really suffer. Contrary to these haters, Zandt said: “They (victims) certainly can.” During a pleasant online relationship, social media users release exactly the same hormone as they would after a cuddle. Thus, accusations and threats expressed online are perceived as real. Zandt commented: “At least we know where to begin. Be more empathetic – on and offline!”
Industry 4.0 – Hamburg’s economy and the digital revolution
Hamburg’s online status was highlighted during the “Industry 4.0 – Hamburg’s economy and the digital revolution” event. The host, Dr. Anna Schwan, Schwan Communications, asked whether Hamburg really is on course towards becoming a really smart city.
Prof. Dr. Alkis Otto, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI), said: “Hamburg is in a good position in national terms”, and noted that Olaf Scholz, Mayor of Hamburg, had a good overview of the issues and e-government is also well established. However, things are different at international level. Otto commented: “In Europe alone, Amsterdam and Copenhagen are ahead of us in terms of e-mobility and energy policy.”
Asked about HHLA’s interest in digital developments by Schwan, HHLA’s spokesman, Karl Olaf Petters, stressed: “The port of Hamburg has always been a driver of innovation.” The pilot project on electric mobility in co-operation with Vattenfall is an up-to-date example, he pointed out. Research at the Altenwerder container terminal is focusing on how the batteries of ten battery-powered, heavy-load vehicles can be recharged when green electricity peaks and solar energy are in the grid. The aim is to boost intelligent load management.
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