Global Agenda Council on Social Media 2012-2013
The digital media landscape has changed tremendously in recent years. The proliferation of social networking websites, combined with a massive increase in the number of mobile devices, has fundamentally altered the way people communicate and work with each other. In particular, traditional hierarchical relationships have been redefined, while access to and dissemination of information has changed dramatically. Social media has been a major factor in these changes, by providing a platform on which communication is instant, decentralized and truly global. Beyond communication, social media remains important on the international scene as an effective means of organization by civil society groups, which often work across borders.
It is clear that major transformations in social media concern communication methods. Yet, at the same time, social media has provided an immense opening for businesses as new communication tools promote greater interaction with customers, as well as the opportunity to use innovative marketing techniques that are better targeted and more effective than traditional media advertising.
On the political level, social media presents great prospects and challenges: social media platforms allow elected officials to engage directly with their constituents in a more personal and informal way. However, politicians are just as susceptible to gaffes and mistakes as before and, with the public watching, even the smallest mistakes can become hugely visible.
Social network sites have given individuals new opportunities to connect at a rate not known before. However, the new digital landscape and culture have introduced new challenges, trade-offs and contested values. Anonymity, freedom of expression, transparency, privacy and regulation are a few of the main concerns associated with social media platforms.
- Social media practices reflect some interesting trends: the most actively engaged region is Latin America; the least is the Asia Pacific. Women are also seen to spend more time using social media than men.
- According to the OpenNet Initiative, Facebook is fully or partially blocked in 17 countries across the world. Twitter is less widely censored, with 10 nations establishing full or partial blocking of the microblogging website.
- In China, 84% of Internet users contribute at least once a month to at least one social network, blog, microblog, video- or photo-sharing website or online forum. This places them in the top spot among the users of social media worldwide.
“We need to look at where social media fits, how it fits in social change; what are its limitations, but also what are its possibilities?”
Erica Williams, Chief Executive Officer, Foolish Life Ventures, USA
“I don’t think people have recognized the kind of stories that can be told through social media platforms. In a Facebook and Twitter world, things have become so one-dimensional, with people just redistributing content. I think this is no different from the way that 99% of people are treating social media: people want to talk and not listen; people don’t care as much as they say they do. We’re now seeing that reflect in the actions of other parties.”
Gary Vaynerchuk, Co-Founder, Vaynermedia, USA
Social Media Conference
16-18 January 2013
Las Vegas, USA
Social Media Strategies Summit
5-7 February 2013
Las Vegas, USA
Social Media World Forum
18-19 March 2013
London, United Kingdom
Corporate Social Media Summit
New York, USA
The Global Agenda Council on Social Media is in a different position than other Councils, because the topic of social media spreads across several different subjects. Social media can be applied to business, politics, industries, regions and issues. The group is thus truly a multistakeholder Council. With this in mind, the Council on Social Media intends to act as a public resource for all who are interested in the theme and will build upon the “need to know” points about social media that were developed last year.
In particular, the long-term focus of the Council is to make all of its output available to the public. Formats under consideration include podcasts, videos, blog posts and white papers. Key dissemination platforms will naturally include the social media, including Twitter; the Council has set up the hashtag #WEFSocialFuture for this purpose.
Some of the key dimensions the Council will address are:
- the social and political implications of social media
Early discussions have led the Council to consider questions on the role of social media in social change, most notably concerning how citizens can build influence and impact societies and communities using social media. The aim is that lessons drawn from the Council’s virtual meetings be used by a mass audience, including researchers, business people and the general public. The Council is also positioned as an advisory board for other Councils looking to incorporate social media in their work.
Research Analyst: Stefan Hall, Global Agenda Councils, email@example.com
Council Manager: Alejandra Velez, Associate Director, Media and Entertainment Industries, firstname.lastname@example.org
Forum Lead: Diana El-Azar, Director, Media, Entertainment and Information Industries, email@example.com