May 18

THE NATO SUMMIT: HOW SOCIAL MEDIA PLAYS A ROLE

THE NATO SUMMIT: HOW SOCIAL MEDIA PLAYS A ROLE

The connection between social media and public action has only gotten deeper as years have progressed and social media and its users have evolved and become more and more sophisticated.  As Chicago gears up for the NATO Summit this weekend, one can’t help but notice the influx of news about our fair city.  As protesters and diplomats from around the world arrive for this momentous event, we’ve taken a look at the pre-summit social media discussions.

The majority of conversation is taking place on Twitter (over 77,000 posts just in the last 7 days), with Facebook coming in at a distant second with just over 8,700 posts.  In reading over some of these conversations, we’ve noticed a few trends:

The city prepares – In the days before the official start of the summit, news of the city’s police and crowd control preparations were the main topic of discussion.  Road closures, commuting tips and NATO “guides” were shared to help the public educate themselves on the coming global event.

Staying home/Getting out of town- These sound like opposites, but let me explain.  Quite a few Chicago residents have decided to leave town for the weekend, noting parking disruptions and general delays as their reasons.  While others, however, have decided to stick it out for the weekend and have acknowledged that they’ll probably stay inside for much of the time.

The protests begin – As protesters began to gather outside Prudential Plaza (where the Obama campaign’s headquarters are stationed) yesterday, news media, protesters, and the general public share information about where to gather and what’s happening in and around the city.  We’ve also seen protesters utilizing Ustream to livestream what they see and hear while they travel around the city.

Only time will tell how the NATO Summit progresses, but we’re sure that social media will play an integral part in how the nation, and the world, view this important meeting.