„We have effectively created a two-way direct dialogue“ – World Economic Forum & Social Media

12.01.2011 von  
Kategorie Social Media

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The World Economic Forum will host its annual meeting in Davos from 26-30th of January 2011. Year on year prominent business people and politicians discuss at the event the state of the world from economics to political issues up to environment topics. In 2008, I have written about the first Social Media approach of the WEF. It became the most read blog post until today, probably as of the event’s popularity.

At the end of last year, I met Matthias Lüfkens at the LeWeb10 in Paris and I wanted to get some input on their Social Media learnings.

About two years ago, I have written about the World Economic Forum and your open social web-strategy. How do you think about your approach in 2008 today?
I think it was the right decision to engage the World Economic Forum on social networks. We are present on the key networks and now have 15.000 fans on Facebook, 13.000 subscribers on YouTube and 1.4 million followers on Twitter. We have shown that our engagement on social networks was not a short-lived PR operation but is a continuous effort to participate in the conversation.

What are the main achievements of your social web activities?
Beyond the number of friends, fans and followers the main achievement is to have given the general public a voice in the Forum. For three years running we have invited citizen journalists to attend our meetings. In 2010 Julia Lalla-Maharajh from the Orchid Project won the YouTube contest and had her own panel in the programme addressing her cause, the fight against female genital mutilation.

Where do you see the difference between PR people and bloggers from today’s point of view?
Social Media has blurred the lines between bloggers and PR people. Today anyone can have his voice heard through blogging or micro-blogging: the consumer, the blogger, the PR representative but also the CEO directly. If there is citizen journalism, there must also be room for CEO journalism, a new more transparent and engaging form of public relations.

What will be your highlights of the WEF 2011?
My highlight is to see how much Social Media has become part and parcel of our events. At the Social Media Corner participants are encouraged to reply to questions on YouTube and Facebook. Many are actively using Twitter to share their thoughts about the meeting. It will be interesting to see how many will check in on Facebook Places and Foursquare.

What is the value of the social web and active social medians for an event like the World Economic Forum?
Social Media has opened up the World Economic Forum events. We have effectively created a two-way direct dialogue between our participants and the general public.

Thank you for your time, Matthias!

News Update – Best of the Day

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– Da treffen sich die Experten in Davos zum Weltwirtschaftsforum und wissen auch nicht so recht, wie es weitergeht in der Welt mit der Wirtschaft. Anatole Kaletsky von Times Online berichtet Erstaunliches über eine Studie unter den Wirtschaft-Häuptlingen…

„According to a survey that greeted the 2,000 captains of industry, Nobel laureate economists and heads of government arriving in Davos for the World Economic Forum, confidence among them has “plummeted” and hopes of an economic recovery have “evaporated” in the past four months. Only 21 per cent of corporate leaders now expect their businesses will improve significantly (down from 50 per cent a year ago) and most of them hope for nothing better than a slow and feeble recovery over the next three years. (…) The good news is that captains of industry, Nobel laureate economists and heads of government are usually wrong about the future.“

Manchmal muss man eben weniger den Nachrichten Glauben schenken, als der wissenden Hoffnung aus der Vergangenheit. Die Twitter-News #Davos sollte man auch nicht lesen, wenn man noch Hoffnung hat. Denken wir ab jetzt an Obama: ‚Yes, we can!‘

– Ob und inwieweit Bewertungen und Kommentare wertvoll sind für das Business 3.0 überdenkt Michael Zeuthen in einem kurzen ‚Review‘, wobei er u.a. auf die Vorteile für die Kundenbindung und Preispolitik für Unternehmen eingeht.

– Auch wenn die Publikumsverlage noch nicht 100%-ig dem Social Media Weg folgen, gibt es doch schon zahlreiche erstaunliche Aktivitäten. Leander Wattig hat die zusammengefasst und eine beachtliche Liste von Blogs, Communities, Foren, Widgets, Podcasts, etc. gefunden.

PS: AT Internet startet eine Blogger-Olympiade. Professionelle Blogger sollten sich schnell anmelden und ihr Können beweisen.

Is the World Economic Forum ‚open‘?

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The World Economic Forum goes Web 2.0 with different activities like using YouTube, Twitter, FlickR, MySpace and Facebook accounts – even the press conference will get input from the ‚outside world‘ with the assistance of Mogulus.

Can we say the World Economic Forum is following a ‚web-open‘ communication strategy, or is this a bit more buzz how the WEF can grap more attention at peoples‘ home best way?

I have had a brief chat with Matthias Luefkens, Associate Director Media for the World Economic Forum. He believes that there is „a need for companies to be present in social networks and the web 2.0 arena. If you are present on the web people will not talk about you. If you are there people think more about what they will be saying“. ‚q.e.d‘ is something that jumps to my mind when I think about the Virgin Atlantic case

Talking about the WEF as the most important event for economic and political discussions, I assumed the obvious social networks platforms where the World Economic Forum wants to be seen must be business networks such as LinkedIn or Xing where business leaders and thinkers meet and exchange ideas, visions and strategies online, but it is Facebook and MySpace. Luefkens admitted that they are missing discussions on their Facebook and MySpace accounts which they use for distributing news and information. Are we surprised? Let’s be quite honest: Do we really want to chat about the world’s economic and political problems with our friends, relatives and best business partners? Does it not make sense in this context to be visible in web rooms where people show themselves in their bikini or sleeping drunk on their patio? Are we not used to have serious discussion in a serious environment talking serious business? And can we doubt that the input these platforms will generate do have any influence on the World Economic Forum?

Some bloggers (most Americans) will join the World Economic Forum. It will be the ones we all know from IT and Journalism, i.e. Huffington Post and TechCrunch. Plus… the winner of the YouTube Davos debate competition. A normal citizen of the world, like you and me, who will then be given the option to sum up to the World Economic Forum form his point of view. Luefkens hopes that this person will be joining the forum with a web cam, recording his trip and uploading it on YouTube.

And then finally Mathias Luefkens surprises me when I asked him if there will be ‚unknown‘ bloggers attending the World Economic Forum…

„We are not going to far with Web 2.0. We will not incentivize the blogger who has written the best pre post on the World Economic Forum.“

Are bloggers to ‚dangerous‘ for the brand building of (or too sophisticated for) the World economic Forum than ’normal‘ citizens? The question remains in my head… Why do you incentivize somebody who produces a one-minute-take with words somebody else might have told them just to be invited to Davos and not bloggers who explore on the future of the web on a daily business for free?

Well at least the social media activity will be giving one person the chance to listen to the Forum. But this is definitely a big step – for the first time the world can peep through the key-hole of the World Economique Forum.

Spot On!
So, how ‚open‘ is the World Economic Forum in the end…? Hm. Are the web 2.0 activities really ‚Bringing the world to Davos‘? On a very much calculated level of giving control out of their hands, yes. But doesn’t it all sound a bit like the free-of-charge web 2.0 mentality? A pr and marketing promotion that is distributing news and information for small dollars? This is not bad from an organization’s point of view as the World Economic Forum obviously understands how to use web 2.0. But let’s hope that the vision the economic and political leaders see as the future development of the world makes us feel much better when we hear further news of the economic downturn. The social media activities will probably be more ‚open‘ next year…