I'm heading to Europe on Saturday to take part in two international conferences. The first, DLD07 (aka the Munich Digital Conference, hosted by Burda Media), is a New Media baby -- born two years ago to bring together those leading the charge into the increasingly digitalized world of the 21st Century. Among those speaking at DLD07 will be Skype's Niklas Zennström, Google's Marissa Mayer, filmmaker Luc Besson, and Craigslist founder Craig Newmark.
The other conference -- the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland -- was created in the Paleolithic era of media communications. 1971. As such, the conference has traditionally been a closed-door gathering of the world's business, political, media, and cultural leaders. The elite meeting on the mountain top -- literally -- to network and hash out the problems of the world.
But the elite has clearly gotten the message that we're living in a Google/YouTube world and -- even before Time magazine put "You" on its cover -- decided to open the doors of Davos to bloggers and blogging. And to do it in a pre-planned and organized way by partnering in with BBC News, The Guardian, Buzzmachine, and The Huffington Post. So now everyone with a modem and a keyboard will not only instantly know what is happening in Davos, but be able to interact with the 2,300 movers-and-shakers taking part in the conference -- becoming an integral part of the conversation.
"Thanks to the tools and technology of the Internet," said Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum," we can reach an even bigger audience and create a global conversation on how to improve the state of the world. It is a cutting edge experiment that gets together for the first time some of the most important new media voices."
Here's how it will work. HuffPost and its Internet partners have come together with the WEF to create and carry the Davos Conversation page (it goes live January22). The page will bring together and organize blogs, videos, photos, news articles, and reader comments related to Davos. Plus, the page will attempt to connect the voice of the people with the voice of those gathered at the conference through a video bridge that will allow anyone in the world to submit a video question to a Davos participant -- and, perhaps, get a video reply. (More on how this will work below).
Indeed, the overriding theme of this year's Annual Meeting -- "The Shifting Power Equation" -- is a tip of the hat to the impact of New Media and technological advances in communication, and the ways in which they've radically altered the political, economic, corporate, and cultural landscapes.
I'll be joined in Davos by Roy Sekoff, HuffPost's editor, and we'll be taking in as many of the official workshops, seminars, and panels as we can (as well as the many unofficial gatherings, meetings, and chance encounters that make Davos such a unique and special event). And I'll be blogging about it throughout the five-day conference (both in this space and on the Davos Conversation Page).
This year's participants include Bill Gates, Tony Blair, King Abdullah of Jordan, Angela Merkel, Joe Biden, Rupert Murdoch, Eric Schmidt, Hua Jianmin, John McCain, Mohammed El Baradei, Sergy Brin, Gordon Brown. And Bono.
And here are just a few of the marquee panels (all of which will be available for viewing via webcast): Tony Blair, Bill Gates and Bono on "Delivering on the Promise of Africa"; Shimon Peres on "Is Freedom Overrated?"; Gates, Chris DeWolfe, and Caterina Fake on "The Impact of Web 2.0 and Emerging Social Network Models"; and Gordon Brown, Rupert Murdoch, and Eric Schmidt on "Who Shapes the Agenda?"
So, starting Monday, be sure to check out the Davos Conversation Page on HuffPost -- and to contribute to the debate in Davos by posting your comments and reactions. You can get involved right now by posting video questions and messages for the Davos participants to respond to.
Jeff Jarvis has a good post laying out the nuts and bolts of how to post your Davos videos. You can upload your videos to YouTube, Google Video, or Blip.tv (be sure to tag them "davos07"). Or, even easier, you can go to YouTube's Quick Capture feature and record and upload your question in one fell swoop.
I'll be posting later about the Davos panels I'll be on, and getting your input on some of the points you'd like me to bring to the mountaintop. For now, it's off to pick up some winter boots (it's cold up there!).