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WSIS Forum 2010 report
Pioneering the use of social networks at WSIS Forum 2010
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photo credit: AFP/Photononstop

Remote participation via social media

To achieve the engagement of all stakeholders — a key principle of the WSIS process — the WSIS Forum 2010 reached for social networking tools to promote more dynamic participation, in particular from civil society, least developed countries, rural areas and remote locations. Social networks allowed every participant in the Forum (remote and physical) to replay each session and have access to every discussion.

This new “layer” of participation tools (Figure 1) included broadcasting all the panels and workshops globally via audio and video webcast; covering the high-level debates with a live blog that added information to the webcast; and using Twitter, a micro-blogging platform, as an additional communication channel to engage in the event.

Figure 1 — Adding a new layer of remote participation to WSIS Forum
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Use of Twitter

ITU shared key information about all the sessions through @ITU_News, and Twitter users responded with more than 875 tweets (short messages), tagging their messages with the term “#WSIS”. These messages were shared not only by participants in the Forum, but also by the wider WSIS stakeholder community. Figure 2 shows the daily coverage of the WSIS Forum using the keyword #WSIS.

The use of Twitter went even further in the high-level debate on social networking. One of the panellists projected a live “Twitter wall” to show the audience the feedback that his intervention was generating in Twitter. This interactive tool allowed the speaker to demonstrate the value of social media in encouraging knowledge sharing and in promoting the participation of a wider audience.

Use of live blogging

Live blogging was used for seven Forum sessions, and a total of 185 people followed these sessions remotely. More than 100 comments were received through this platform, and panellists reacted to some of them, both from the audience and from remote participants who — thanks to live blogging — were able to take an active part in the discussions.

Despite not having advertised that these tools were going to be implemented during the Forum, 185 people followed the Forum through the live blog and 142 contributed via Twitter, providing comments and questions that were included in some of the panels. The remote participants came from 52 different countries, showing the value that ICT can have in promoting a truly global discussion.

Figure 2 — Daily coverage of WSIS Forum through Twitter
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