Contributed by Joy Engel
This morning, WIRED magazine’s Alexis Madrigal and Michael Kanellos of Greentech Media joined W2 Chairman Larry Weber in a panel discussion co-hosted by Racepoint San Francisco and Digital Influence Group on “Powering Clean Tech with Social Media.” Despite the early hour, the panelists jumped right in, discussing hot topics including green washing, alternative fuels and funding.
Alexis, who is writing a book on the history of the greentech movement in the U.S., called for a new sense of “Manifest Destiny” in relation to clean tech. He reasoned that since we have to transform systems on earth, we should acknowledge up front that its going to be hard, messy and part trial-and-error. Both Michael and Alexis agreed that the innovation needed to transform the space has to come from innovators from within and outside the clean tech industry. They cited the Gates Foundation’s work in health as a prime example of this type of collaborative innovation — working together the industry can achieve the changes needed to make real strides in clean tech.
As for social media, both panelists agreed that blogs, twitter and social networks can serve as effective conduits for organizations to get their messages to businesses, and that few organizations are successfully using social media to reach consumers. All is not lost on the social media front, though. This just means organizations have a lot of room to grow in their communications with consumers.
All three participants cautioned companies to participate in social media with a thoughtful approach and, above all, a clearly defined strategy. They noted that one of the biggest social media mistakes companies make is to engage without first learning the community’s standards. Overall, they expressed a sense of excitement that people are using social media more and more to communicate about clean tech and other issues of shared interest. It is, after all, a much more normal and personal way to communicate than traditional types of media.