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Twitter Expands WEF Debate Beyond Davos

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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KPMG says its now possible to be in Davos without actually being there after it monitors World Economic Forum tweets

The spread of social media means that debates at the World Economic Forum in Davos are no longer the preserve of the world leaders and business executives, according to research from KPMG.

KPMG monitored tweets and responses from delegates during the first two days of the forum, identifying trending topics, prolific tweeters and groups which are most likely to debate outside of Davos.

Socially active

On the first day of Davos, KPMG reported that 459 delegates posted 4,436 tweets, prompting 8,021 replies and 18,718 retweets. The most popular trending topics with the hashtag #Davos were ‘Angela Merkel’, ‘Europe’ and the somewhat ambiguous ‘people’.

On day two, 440 delegates generated 3,312 tweets which had 4,816 replies and 14,302 retweets, with the top trending topics being ‘David Cameron’, ‘Africa’ and ‘Social’.

“The spread of social media at the annual World Economic Forum 2012, in particular the use of Twitter, has extended the dialogue beyond the meeting rooms and corridors of Davos to the global community,” said KPMG.

The company has been monitoring the extent and nature of comments from non-delegates since debates started on its website and identifies tweets and tweeters by their level and style of influence.

“Commentary via social media has really taken off at—and beyond—Davos this year,” commented Adam Bates, global head of innovation at KPMG. “It is no longer the preserve of economic experts or political figures, but rather, anyone with an opinion is able to share it with a global audience.”

“Not so long ago, the debates were the preserve of the few and most of us had to wait to hear about them,” he added. “With the innovative use of social media it is possible to be in Davos without actually being there – meaning business and individuals alike have a chance to air their views on the issues that matter.”

Research from KPMG in December said that UK businesses were not exploiting social media enough, lagging behind companies even in developing countries. Other research conducted by the company suggested that consumers in the UK are far less willing to pay for digital content than their global counterparts.