The Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum 2011: An Analysis Overview
The 2011 annual meeting of the World Economic Forum was held in Davos-Klosters Switzerland between 26th and 30th January. This annual meeting convenes an outstanding audience of decision-makers and thought-leaders from around the world. The theme this year was, “Shared Norms for the New Reality, reflecting the fact that we live in a world that is becoming increasingly complex and interconnected but also experiencing an erosion of common values and principles.”
The iGo2Group recognizes the importance of the Forum and has undertaken a study on how the said organization is currently impacting social and broader media channels. Could the reach be improved; could ‘conversations’ be extended and deepened? How do people feel about the Forum and what are the perceived ‘authorities’ that share this major event with the world?
iGo2 welcomes the opportunity to support the Forum by researching its presence and impact in media and to offer recommendations that may advance the Forum’s popularist reach in time for Latin America 2011 (to be held in Brazil in April).
The Research Project:
The period examined commenced 25th January and ended 2nd February 2011.
Key analytic findings:
- UK-based Guardian.co.uk was the principal blog site throughout the Forum.
- Over 12,000 bookmarks of the Guardian’s blog articles were created and overall, the sentiment was neutral. The exception was where UK’s declining economic stability was discussed. Across all blogs, sentiment towards the WEF articles was positive (53%).
- Blog popularity or ‘interest’ dropped away on the 27th of January.
- Men viewed the Forum more positively than women and were significantly more active in discussing it.
- On Twitter, one of the key ‘authority’ media sources was the Washington Post, followed by the BBC and then Fast Company.
- Various international organizations – Amnesty International, Save the Children and ONECampaign – were also considered authorities.
- The Forum itself came 19th (as an authority) after all the aforementioned organizations.
- Across 5,000 Tweets, 97.0% were neutral, 2.1% negative and .9% positive.
- Twitter conversations about the Forum occurred across the world however the ‘hot spots’ were Europe and North America followed by Asia. No conversations in countries such as Iceland and in Canada, conversation was confined to the south-west sector and not broadly spread.
- In more traditional media, there was quite a broad spread of reporting on the Forum. The top source was Yahoo followed by bizjournals.com, Reuters, BBC, and Businessweek. Note there was little reporting in South America and Australia.
- Sentiment across broader media about the Forum was 49% positive, 36% neutral, and 15% negative.
The iGo2 team also examined the Tweeting behaviors of both the Forum itself and it’s top Twitter ‘fans’. The following points summarise key findings:
- The WEF hashtag – #wef – was not being used by all individuals discussing the event.
- Despite the previous point, many on Twitter used the hashtag to underscore a ‘point’ made at the Forum. The following are examples:
- People share information they are amazed or surprised by:
- Although the World Economic Forum commenced a special @Davos profile, there was no #davos hashtag.
- The @Davos profile did not engage with its followers as such although it did occasionally re-tweet a comment.
Men are far more interested and engaged in WEF than women and there are countries where the Forum is not discussed at all or discussed minimally. There is a lack of keyword ‘ping’ for WEF and this tends to indicate a lack of cohesive delivery of the Forum content and discussions out to the wider world. This is particularly so for social media channels and blogs. WEF’s engagement in social media could improve and it would be better able to analyse it’s own reach and social media power if it adapted it’s use of the hashtag system.
As stated at the outset, the intent of the research exercise undertaken by the iGo2Group was to arrive at a set of recommendations for the World Economic Forum to consider if greater reach and ‘true’ global coverage and interest in its activity is considered desirable:
To this end iGo2 offers the following six starter proposals:
- That the Forum further research social media conversations about its activity – noting keywords, values and sentiments – so that it fully understands and can respond to the concerns of everyday person.
- That WEF considers the key-words and phrases that people identify with and that are more likely to create WEF-related conversations e.g. agricultural decline or ‘risk networking’.
- In the light of points 1 and 2 above, that WEF enable a Twitter stream on it’s website so that all people feel their voice is being heard ‘at the source’. In addition to this a regular summary of those comments – posted on the site – would be seen as a positive and advanced step.
- That WEF locates strategies to engage as many people from as many countries as possible to become interested in, and contribute to the forum. One option would be to encourage – and provide assistance for – economics post-graduates (et al) to report on the event in their local or national media outlets.
- Given that men are far more engaged in the Forum, women be canvassed to see what options would improve their ability to participate.
- That WEF looks to adapt hashtags to suit each event e.g. #wefdavos; #wefbrazil, and engage more actively with its fanbase.