COP15 from a Communications Perspective

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The world is looking to Copenhagen where the UN climate conference 2009 is currently taking place. At Text 100 we advise many clients on CSR and social media communications and have therefore been very interested in considering the communications landscape surrounding the conference this year. We want to find out how Web 2.0 and especially the rise of social media has revolutionized the way politicians are communicating their positions, how NGOs are trying to influence the discussions and how COP15 is bringing climate experts to the “blog table” to offer insights into the climate discussion. It is very interesting to take a look behind the scenes and understand how many different stakeholders can stay up to date every minute of  the day.

 

Prior to the start of COP15 we created an international Text 100 COP15 team with the objective of monitoring the social web including blogs, Twitter, social networks, online forums, YouTube, Flickr etc. and analyzing what we found. The team started its work with the COP15 pre-conference in Barcelona, on 2nd November. After six busy weeks we have observed the following, topline trends.  We will be pulling together a thorough analysis of our findings in early January.

 

  • NGOs, politicians and journalists are important users of social media today. Interestingly, companies and  industry associations do not seem to be  exploiting the potential of social media.
  • Twitter and blogs are the social media tools used most. An interesting example is the twitter wall of Greenpeace on 5th December in Berlin: Greenpeace put a big screen in Berlin at the Brandenburg Gate. At the end of the day, it received 15,000 tweets with the hashtag #savetheclimate. There were people in Germany sending messages to Angela Merkel and what she should focus on. One can see this twitter wall also in the Greenpeace GreenAction blog: http://twitterwall.greenaction.de/
  •  NGOs leverage social media to inform their members and followers about current activities, to call for action and to report about progress made in Copenhagen. A good example is WWF Climate Blog
  • Interestingly, social media is mainly used as an information channel. In many cases there aren’t a lot of comments and dialogue that show a vivid discussion about the climate conference. However, a positive example in terms of interaction and dialogue is the Climate Thinkers Blog of the Danish government which invites some of the world’s most renowned climate thinkers to participate in a virtual global climate debate. 
  • Prior to the conference, topics discussed in social media were about expectations, attendees and results, as well as practical questions about how to travel to Copenhagen, how to find a hotel etc. With the start of the conference we can see a big shift in the discussion. Now it is more about climate content such as negotiation progress, positions and opinions of different parties as well as news-worthy activities of NGOs.

 

If you would like to hear more about social media usage at COP15 please listen to the Englisch radio show of Deutsche Welle or read the related article on their Web site.