Top 10 People to Follow at Davos #wef

By, Caroline Sanderson, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, Social Innovation Practice
Jan 28, 2011 8:00 PM ET

Innovation Conversations

  by Caroline Sanderson, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, Social Innovation Practice

Each year at the end of January, some of the most powerful people in the world descend upon the small ski resort town of Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. The meeting brings together an eclectic mix of movers and shakers ranging from politicians and C-suite executives to changemakers and rockstars.

These high-profile individuals gather to discuss innovative ideas and solutions to the myriad of complex challenges we face today as a global society.  They also bring attention to new technologies, young leaders and social entrepreneurs.  Needless to say, from the perspective of at Waggener Edstrom’s Social Innovation Practice, what’s not to love?   

While there are still plenty of closed doors, not being able to pony up the admission price doesn’t mean exclusion from the conversation. Through the Twitter and the social tools WEF has made available, we all feel a part of the conversation.  With over 400 Annual Meeting participants officially active on Twitter (my personal fave?  Shawn Ahmed of The Uncultured Project), Davos Debates on YouTube and quick polls on Facebook, let alone the mainstream press coverage and the WEF’s official blog, where does one even begin to follow Davos?

Hardly surprising, there’s an app to keep in the loop. Against the photo backdrop of a bucolic, snow-covered Davos, one can directly link to news, those 400 participants’ Twitter feeds (alphabetized!), live video, photos, recorded speeches, and WEF publications.  I highly recommend it.

Still feeling overwhelmed? Like we did during the Clinton Global Initiative back in September, WE went to our social media gurus at Studio D, who set up our twendz pro™ tool to help us dig through the clutter and gain some insight into the robust Twitter conversation going on in this space. This innovative tool uses a formula (sentiment influence + quantitative + qualitative analysis) that can help you understand who the most influential players are in your industry and more importantly, how to engage with them.

What we found, thanks to twendz pro™, is that while a person’s influence ranking will change over time given the fluidity of the Twitter landscape, the influencers who rose to the top not only have a large number of followers, but they ask  questions, reply to questions, share links, and prolifically use hashtags in their tweets.  Many of these influencers have been retweeted at a high rate in the first couple of days of the conference, further demonstrating their reach.

So to stay in the loop on the latest and great content coming out of Davos, here is who you absolutely must follow:

Top 10 Twitter Influencers at Davos*

  1. @paulocoelho (1, 151,546 followers) – Attendee Paulo Coelho is a Brazilian writer who has sold 100 million books in over 150 countries worldwide, and is an international social media celebrity.  One of his tweets was retweeted an amazing 313 times.

  2. @davos (1,491,677 followers) – The official Twitter handle of the World Economic Forum dedicated to the Annual Meeting in Davos.

  3.  @bill_gross (9,031 followers) – Attendee Bill Gross is the founder of Idealab, which creates and builds successful, pioneering businesses.

  4. @coelhoespanol (84,612 followers) – Not associated with Paulo Coelho, this is a grassroots effort to tweet Spanish translations of Coelho’s official Twitter feed, further increasing his influence.

  5. @wef (1,094 followers) – The official Twitter handle of World Economic Forum events, not just Davos.

  6. @ftdavos (4,188 followers) – The Financial Times is one of the most widely read international daily business papers, printed in 23 cities around the world.

  7. @scobleizer (161,665 followers) – Attendee Robert Scoble is a tech enthusiast, video blogger, and media innovator with a highly engaged following.

  8. @gatesfoundation (462,501 followers)The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives, focused on global health, global development, & U.S. education.  

  9. @padmasree (1,386,559 followers)Padmasree Warrior is the Chief Technology Officer of Cisco. In 2010, Fast Company Magazine named her one of the “100 Most Creative People in Business.”

  10. @billgates (2,065,785 followers) – Attendee Bill Gates remains dedicated to his foundation and other endeavors since stepping down from his full-time role at Microsoft, becoming another social media celebrity in the process.

Our Big Takeaway

It’s clear that influencers take many shapes and forms.  Paulo Coelho, who isn’t a rockstar, but has written songs for a few, may not have even been on our radar for making this list, let alone topping it, but his combined following alone is over 1.2 million and multilingual in English, Portuguese and Spanish.  In all, these top 10 influencers reach over 5 million people.

These influencers’ thoughts, questions, observations and perspective on the event are highly valued by those who follow them.  In that way, Davos continues to open doors and, at least virtually, bring more people to the table to join the dialogue.

If you would like to reccomend someone to follow who is not on the top ten influential list, let us know!

* As of January 28, 2011.  The Annual Meeting takes place January 26-30, 2011.