Posts about davos07

Media Channel’s message to the mountain

Danny Schechter and Rory O’Connor at create a wonderful video to join in the Davos Conversation. They talk about being at Davos a few years ago and about learning that the machers there are “not evil.” They say it’s time to get past partisanship in America and around the world. It’s time to look for common ground and solve problems. They applaud the effort to start a conversation out of Davos and say the people on the mountain have a lot to learn from the people in the valley. Amen to it all. Watch their message:

Questions for Davos

Davos Conversation notes…

: John Robb asks: ‘Is Davos relevant?’

With global economy running itself (where it is going, nobody has a clue), bottoms up organizations are forming to solve local and global needs, and states being pushed to margins, you can’t help but get the sense that Davos is hideously anachronistic — from a seemingly long ago time when big ideas, big people, and big states ruled the world.

: Antonio Gould says the Davos Conversation is what the web was made for:

Traditionally a fairly closed event, the WEF have decided to get communicating with the wider public. . . . Nice to see the world’s great and the good actually making an effort to listen to people for once (it doesn’t seem to happen very often, especially in the UK nowadays). Whether they actually will or not remains to be seen.

: Andrew Keen wonders whether opening up is the best thing to do:

Is nothing sacred from the digital democratizers? The Davos Conference (aka: The World Economic Forum), historically the private networking event (a so-called “closed session”) of the rich, powerful and famous, has been invaded by the Web 2.0 crowd. . . .

Time magazine’s YOU is now headlining at Davos. The closed session has been blown open to gaze of anyone with a broadband connection. Nosey parkers on the internet can now watch the historically closed panels live from their computers. We will all be able to post our comments in “real-time” to Davos participants like Angela Merkel, John McCain, King Abdullah of Jordan and Tony Blair. We can give them our view of the environment, of the Iraq War, of the global economy, on the afterlife and the pre-life. We can lecture Bill Gates about computers, Rupert Murdoch about media, Bono about celebrity, Mohammed El Baradei about atomic power and Gordon Brown about economics.

The problem, however, is that if Tony Blair, King Abdullah, John McCain, Angela Merkel et al know that we are watching them, then they will say what we want them to say (meaning that they will say nothing different from what they always say on television). The whole raison d’etre of Davos — of powerful people getting together to talk in private about the world’s problems — will be undermined. By democratizing Davos, by turning it into an always-on event, the Web 2.0 crowd are transforming a historically important date on the calendar into a self-celebratory media circus. At Davos 2.0, everyone will feel great about their horizontal networks and nothing of any political sustance will get done. . . .

: Seamus McCauley puzzles over the optimism gap he sees in the survey data released by the WEF, which leads to a fascinating argument about the falling fortunes of newspapers:

But back to the 53% of Western Europeans who think that the world will be less prosperous in the next generation. What is is that inclines us to so fear the future? I’ve mentioned before Michael Chabon’s article The Omega Glory, in which his notes that,

“If you ask my eight-year-old about the Future, he pretty much thinks the world is going to end, and that’s it. Most likely global warming, he says–floods, storms, desertification–but the possibility of viral pandemic, meteor impact, or some kind of nuclear exchange is not alien to his view of the days to come. Maybe not tomorrow, or a year from now.”

There’s nothing new in a pessimistic view of the future. Christianity is at heart an apocalypse cult and much of the fundamentalist revival in the US focuses on an allegedly imminent rapture. The late C20th lived in the shadow of the bomb. Different armaggedons seemingly haunt every generation. Only last week conversation with friends over dinner turned to survivalism and contingency plans for the collapse of civilisation (remote, fortified Greek islands featured prominently).

I’ve posited before that our culture’s future-pessimism might explain the decline of the newspaper industry. An interest in current affairs is indissolubly bound up with the connection the reader feels with an imagined future to which those affairs might relate, and newsprint is suffering particularly from the evaporation of that connection. Chris Charron recently asked the LinkedIn community about the future for newspapers:

“When does the circulation drop below a point where the editorial, classifieds, and advertising models collapse and our vehicle news needs radical innovation?”

Vidar Hokstad gave, for my money, the most interesting answer – that newspapers face “not just a technological challenge, but a cultural challenge”. Indeed. The cultural challenge for newspapers is to present a vision of the present, and therefore a vision of the future, that resonates with their readers and inspires them to engage with the news every day. Western media owners have the hardest job in the world – 53% of their audience think that the future will be poorer than the present. Chinese media owners have the easiest – a massive 86% are optimistic about their future prosperity. Getting people who think that every day is a little bit better than yesterday to enthuse about the news that is taking them there should be shooting fish in a barrel.

: Which causes Ron Davison to riff:

Until the West has shifted its economies to more directly go after improvements in quality of life, this sense of pessimism in the West may only get worse.

: Comment is Free readers are sending lots of questions and comments to Davos. Please do join in, in comments or in video. Here‘s a video from Lithuania and another from Scotland.

Opening the Davos Conversation

Today, the Davos Conversation project launches with the World Economic Forum (aka Davos), the Guardian’s Comment is Free, the BBC, Huffington Post, and me blogging, and with Technorati contributing a blog feed. Daylife is contributing news feeds and produced the whole project.

This is the WEF’s effort to open up the conversation into and out of Davos. The Davos Conversation will include:
* Blog posts from Davos by those listed above and by other participants contributing to a blog there.
* Comments on those posts.
* News from mainstream and blog sources about Davos, from Daylife.
* News about major participants at Davos, also from Daylife.
* A feed of blog posts from everywhere about Davos, from Technorati.
* Videos sent to and from Davos. See the invitation to send video questions and comments to Davos here and here.
* Links to the webcast sessions at Davos and photos from the snow.

The meeting starts in Switzerland next week, and that’s when you’ll see more content on the page. (The Technorati feed will also go up later today.)

The WEF annual meeting has been a closed session for the world’s machers: an exclusive list of 2,000-plus heads of state and of corporations. But they have been quite serious about opening up the conversation into and out of Davos. Indeed, the theme of this year’s confab is about the shifting power equation and the tools used for the Davos Conversation page are very much a catalyst of that change. This is how I got involved in this, advising on the project and blogging there. I hope some substantive conversations begin here. We’ll see.

: On a separate note, I’m proud that Daylife, where I’m consulting editor, could produce this. Daylife is a platform that enables sites large and small to present relevant news and to put their news and content in context and to create more content and inventory. Daylife is honored to work with the WEF, the Guardian, the Huffington Post, and the BBC to produce the conversation page.

Ask Davos

I just got a list of some of the participants in Davos to whom you can direct your YouTubed questions and comments (see the invitation here). Again, there’s no guarantee they’ll all be answered; there are only so many minions carrying cameras to get those responses. But it’s quite a list — and not just Bono and Peter Gabriel. So talk away:

Heads of state:
Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority;
King Abdullah II Ibn Hussein of Jordan;
Bertie Ahern, Prime Minister)of Ireland;
Prince Albert II of Monaco;
Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan;
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of the Philippines;
Shaukat Aziz, Prime Minister of Pakistan;
Abudllah Ahmad Badawi, Prime Minister of Malaysia;
Tony Blair, Prime Minister of United Kingdom;
Felipe Calderón-Hinojosa, President of Mexico;
Jakaya M. Kikwete, President of Tanzania;
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil;
Thabo Mbeki, President of South Africa;
Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany;
Ahmed Mahmoud Nazif, Prime Minister of Egypt;
Nguyen Tan Dung, Prime Minister of Vietnam;
Fouad Siniora, Prime Minister of Lebanon;
Viktor Yanukovych, Prime Minister of Ukraine.

Heads of international organizations:
M. El Baradei, Director-General, International Atomic Energy Agency;
Pascal Lamy, Director-General, World Trade Organization (WTO),;
Paul D. Wolfowitz, President, World Bank;
Koichiro Matsuura, Director-General, UNESCO;

Webcasts include:
The Shifting Power Equation: Lord Browne of Madingley, Michelle Guthrie, E. Neville Isdell, Angela Merkel, Sunil Bharti Mittal, James J. Schiro, Eric Schmidt, Klaus Schwaz
Connectivity: Sergey Brin, Chris DeWolfe Chad Hurley
Climate Change: A Call to Action: Margaret Beckett, Lord Browne of Madingley, John McCain
Arab Peace Plan: Amre Moussa
Energy 2007: The New Era of Petropolitics: Ilham Aliyev, Bi Jingquan, Samuel W. Bodman, Alexander Medvedev, Jeroen van der Veer, Viktor Yanukovych, Thomas L. Friedman
European Identity: David Cameron, Christine Lagarde
China as a Global Player – A Conversation with Hua Jianmin
Who Shapes the Agenda? Gordon Brown, Rupert Murdoch, Eric Schmidt
Is Freedom Over-rated? Shimon Peres
What Is Today’s American Dream? John F. Kerry, John McCain
A Business Manifesto for Globalization: Lord Browne of Madingley, Carlos Ghosn, James J. Schiro, Joseph E. Stiglitz
Delivering on the Promise of Africa: Tony Blair, William H. Gates III, Bono
Iraq and The Future of Middle East: Adil Abd al-Mahdi, John F. Kerry, Mohammad Khatami, Javier Solana Madariaga
The Impact of Web 2.0 and Emerging Social Network Models: Chris DeWolfe, Caterina Fake, William H. Gates III

: LATER: The WEF announced its program: “Shaping the Global Agenda, The Shifting Power Equation.”

Speaking at today’s press conference at the World Economic Forum’s headquarters in Geneva, Founder and Executive Chairman Professor Klaus Schwab said, “We are faced by a world which is increasingly schizophrenic. Our world is rapidly changing and power is shifting geopolitically, in business terms and even in the virtual world.” . . .

The programme will follow four main themes that are high on the global agenda in 2007. These range from “Economics: New Drivers” and “Geopolitics: The Need for Fresh Mandates” to “Business: Leading in a Connected World”, and “Technology and Society: Identity, Community and Networks”.

: LATER: Arianna blogs about going to Davos.

Say it to Davos: An invitation

Here’s an invitation to Davos: I hope that many of you will record video questions and thoughts to send to Davos, putting them up on YouTube tagged “davos07.”

This is part of the World Economic Forum’s attempt to open the conversation from Davos to the world and vice versa. I also think it’s a good opportunity to bring together more voices and viewpoints in a sort of virtual Davos on YouTube.

The other partners in the Davos Conversation Project, which will launch later this week — the Guardian’s Comment is Free, BBC News, and the Huffington Post — will also be asking their communities to make and post videos. The World Economic Forum will take a limited number of these and get video responses from the participants at Davos, posting both online. Please note that they won’t have the resources to get every or even many of the video questions answered. But I think that’s only part of the appeal of this. I want to hear more voices down from the mountains of Davos, voices from around the world. And I think video is a very powerful means to deliver these questions and messages: questions, comments, ideas, pleas.

So fellow bloggers and vloggers, please spread the invitation and ask your readers to say it to Davos via YouTube. Later this week, I’ll post some of the topics they’ll be talking about and some of the people who’ll be there. But go ahead and record and broadcast your questions and thoughts on world economic issues, on global security, on innovation and collaboration, on health, on energy, on the environment.

The head of the WEF , Klaus Schwab, said that this year’s meeting is about “a changing power equation; power is moving from the center to the periphery; vertical command-and-control structures are eroding and are being replaced by horizontal networks of social communities and collaborative platforms.” Since many of you are the ones advocating and enabling just that, then share your wisdom and your vision of how the world can and should work in a connected, collaborative, transparent universe.

You don’t have to do anything fancy to record a video on YouTube. It is incredibly easy to record and upload a video to YouTube; that’s why millions are doing it. But now there’s an even easier way: To to YouTube’s Quick Capture, let it take over your webcam, and you can record and upload a message in one easy step.

Davos says they want to have an open conversation. So let’s have it. Please record questions and messages for Davos — and for the world, really — and also please leave links to the videos in the comments here.