Global Agenda Council Social Media

1st Council Call – 14 October 2014

All 21 members of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Social Media (#wefsocmed) have been asked to answer the following questions for the first introductory call. Here is what I’ve prepared. It’s short because it has to be under 2mn.

State your name and location

Xavier Damman — Belgian living in San Francisco

Briefly state what are the principle challenges and opportunities for social media

The biggest opportunity for social media is to turn billions of passive readers into contributors who can not only help distribute information but also source it.

It’s a work in progress. At first, social media was just a new distribution channel for publishers. Today social media has turned everyone into a potential reporter. Tomorrow, it will also turn everyone into a potential insider/whistleblower. It’s a great opportunity for the media to claim back their role as a necessary counter power in our societies. “News is what somebody doesn’t want you to print, all the rest is advertising or PR”.

But Social Media is only a subset of Social Networks applied to the media industry. The biggest opportunity of Social Networks in general is to connect people at will to create value and respond –on demand– to a need of a community. Uber is a Social Network of drivers distributing the work in real time to their members. So the biggest opportunity of Social Networks is basically to give a job to billions of people, on demand.

The biggest opportunity of Social Networks is to connect people at will to create value and respond –on demand– to a need of a community

The biggest challenge is the cultural divide between people in these new networks and people in power who govern us. People who tend to be financed primarily by BI (Before Internet) industries.

Share how the Social Media Council can contribute to understanding these challenges and opportunities better

Maybe this council can help identify which regions / cities offer the best legal framework for those new networks and then share the impact on their GDP and GNH (Gross National Happiness). Hopefully that will convince other regions to also give space for those innovations to blossom. I’m thinking here about the sharing economy (AirBnB, Uber), Bitcoin, encryption, whistleblowing, DemocracyOS, self driving cars, etc.

Xavier Damman

About the author

I'm Xavier Damman. I'm an engineer in computer science and an entrepreneur. I'm passionate about the digital renaissance. I like to think about the future of media (I cofounded Storify), organizations and democracy (I'm now working on Open Collective). In my spare time, I like to hack and talk. You can follow me on Twitter @xdamman.