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 thisyear 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 @iGo2 Group recognises the importance of the Forum and has undertaken a study on how said organisation 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 during April).

The Research Project:

The period examined commenced 25th January and ended 2nd February 2011.

Key analytic findings:

  1. Ÿ UK based was the principle blog site throughout the Forum.
  2. 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%).
  3. Blog popularity or ‘interest’ dropped away on the 27th January.
  4. On Twitter, one of the key ‘authority’ media sources was the Washington Post, followed by the BBC and then Fast Company.
  5. Various international organisations – Amnesty International, Save the Children and ONECampaign – were also considered authorities.
  6. The Forum itself came 19th (as an authority) after all the aforementioned organisations.
  7. 99,669 Tweets across “Davos” OR “WEF” OR “World Economic Forum” for the period 25th January and ended 2nd February 2011.
  8. Twitter conversations about the Forum occurred across the world however the ‘hot spots’ were Europe and North America followed by Asia.
  9. ŸDespite the appearance of activity in Twitter, the BuzzGraph below displays how obscure many conversations were. WEF, 2011 and agriculture were the most pertinent terms.
  10. Ÿ In more traditional media, there was quite a broad spread of reporting on the Forum. The top source was Yahoo followed by, Reuters, BBC and Businessweek.
  11. Sentiment across broader media about the Forum was 49% positive, 36% neutral and 15% negative.

The iGo2 team also examined the Tweeting behaviours of both the Forum itself and it’s top Twitter ‘fans’. The graph below represents the volume growth over the period.

The following points summarise key findings:

  • The WEF hashtag – #wef – was not being used actively 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:

MominaKhawar The kind of revolution we’ll have in Pakistan will make the one in Tunisia look like child’s play – Imran Khan #WEF

kylekimbrell “Under severe stress, I did 3 things. Force calm, Do only highest priority things, Avoid all distractions.” Sullenberger on Leadership #WEF

  • Ÿ People share information they are amazed or surprised by:

Bill_Gross I learned today about youth unemployment: #Yemen 49%, #Palestine 38%, #Morocco 35%, #Egypt 33%, #Tunisia 26%. Staggering #WEF

  • 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.


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/amplification and social media power if it adapted it’s use of the hashtag system.


The intent of the research exercise undertaken by the iGo2 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 eight starter proposals:

  1. Define the objectives and strategy for the use of Social Media as it relates to WEF!
  2. That the Forum further research social media conversations through a Social Media Assessment of its activity – noting keywords, values and sentiments – so that it fully understands and can respond to the concerns of everyday person….who might not be attending the Forum.
  3. That WEF consider 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’.
  4. In the light of points 2 and 3 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 step.
  5. That WEF locate 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.
  6. People not represented at the Forum should be canvassed to see what options and conversations would improve their ability to participate.
  7. That WEF looks to adapting hashtags to suit each event e.g. #wefdavos; #wefbrazil, and engaging more actively with its fanbase.
  8. Integration of the Social Channels is key.

Looking Specifically @Davos

iGo2 took a detailed look at the @Davos Twitter handle with a reach of 231m Impressions over the few days and 84,297 Tweets with “Davos” or “@Davos”

As shown below blow the twitter handle @Davos has an impressive following:

Looking at how people tweeted the volume of RT’s is only 23% and 81% regular tweets which shows a global audience which wants to have its’ say!

Finally some of the most influential tweeters are listed below.

…..So why is Social Media and Social Technologies so important to an organisation like the #WEF?

Let’s explain that is as simple as possible terms – a World Economic Globe with a Twitter Heatmap of Tweets.

Contributing researcher to this post was @SusanPAus.

It should be noted that this study never focused on Facebook and the 65k followers….perhaps at another time. @Michae1Green