“The only way to keep Davos private would be to confiscate participants’ cell phones,” according to Matthias Lüfkens, former head of digital media at the World Economic Forum (WEF) and current MD of digital, EMEA at Burson-Marsteller. He spoke at PRSA’s Digital Impact conference on Monday in New York, where he outlined how digital media helped make the exclusive conference more public.

The World Economic Forum’s five-day invitation-only event, held in Davos, Switzerland every January, draws 2,600 influential leaders from academia, business, and government to discuss the world’s most pressing issues. Lüfkens said WEF sought to reach a broader audience, and this year the event was livestreamed on four channels and on a press conference channel encouraging audience participation. They also livestreamed from mobile phones using Qik.

“The head of WEF is not personally involved in social media, but he understands it,” Lüfkens noted. “Social media is also a good way to brand the event and is now embedded in the organization. Our strategy is to release and stagger the content.” Davos now has a presence on several social media platforms and provides a lesson in how other major events, even those with off-the-record content, can use social media to their advantage.

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