Websummit 2021's Day 1 Highlights by Kirsten & Wilmar

By Wilmar Alex Tax & Kirsten Scholte, 02 November 2021

We - Kirsten & Wilmar - are live at the WebSummit covering its highlights for you. Day 1 According to Reuters, WebSummit is the biggest tech conference in Europe and the Guardian calls it the Glastonbury for Geeks. This is our fourth time here.

Day 1 at the Web Summit was an incredible rich day with a wide array of themes including the Future of Media, Mobility as a Servicen and Activism & Media. These are our notes with the highlights.

Trust & news and misinformation

There’s a crisis in trust. Trusting the news. Trust levels are all time low. Finland has the highest trust with only 55%. When it comes to news, what doesn't help is lots of news sites have news ánd opinion content. This can be confusing to people; what are the facts and what are the opinions? The Washington Post researched on this and now when something is an opinion it’s made extra clear next to the article or even in the titel. So people know it’s an opinion and not a fact. We’ve got to make that difference super clear. Show people how we do it, emphasise what’s important to regain trust. We have to help people figure out how to consume information. [Alessandra Galloni - Reuters editor-in-chief and Kat Downs Mulder]

"Only the elite is able to read quality newspapers, the rest of the world is left with misinformation," said Eric Schurenberg CEO of Mansueto Ventures, home to Inc. and Fast Company. This means all of us in communication have a growing responsibility to focus on truthful and meaningful communication. 

Nicholas Thompson from the Atlantic stated: "Most main stream media companies in the US are based in the bluest states, so we hire blue state people.

There's a genuine lack of diversity in our newsrooms and that's a problem. We really need to reach out to a broader array of people when it comes to racial, social, geographically and political diversity.

The future of media - Gen Z is stepping up

Despite the many challenges ahead, we are hopeful about the future because young people, Gen Z are stepping up. They are not afraid to tell you what they find important. Adding to this is the fact the media is becoming more welcoming, diverse and inclusive. The combination of both will be a driving force for a better world.

Let's invest in diversity and inclusion and not just use it as the buzz words they often are nowadays.

 Newsrooms should look like our readership, like the world we’re in. People need to see themselves when they watch videos and stuff. [Erika Allen (Vice), Sohail (So) and Versha Sharma (Teen Vogue)].

Nancy Dubuc (CEO Vice Media): One of our factors of succes is that we're having conversations on and use an incredible amount of platforms, digitally, socially, live, cable and on demand. We started for example started as a magazine.

Activism & journalism

Judith Nwandu (Political Reporter The Shade Room): I am careful not to judge my audience, but I am showing them what I do and that's how I - albeit implicitly - take a stand. I answer their questions and deal with their worries as good as I can. In my view this works better than to point the finger at them. Yasir Khan - Editor-in-chief - Thomson Reuters Foundation:

"We should not try to be objective rather we should try and be accurate and fair."

Mobility as a Service (MaaS) 

MaaS provides intermodal mobility, it is about providing all types of mobility in one app, in one account. Public transport is the back bone of mobility, it will always be that way. Maas will bring down the costs of mobility in general (for example: shared systems using shared cars and other ways of transportation) and also the cost for the user (you only pay for what you use). Making mobility 100% digital is probably the biggest challenge to truly realise MaaS.
[Steven Ahlig HACON and Carsten Alexander Schroeder at T-Mobile]

The Future of Influencers - Gen T and Live Shopping

Influencer as an industry is growing up. What started as a wild west where you could buy influencers and likes it is now much more mature and part of media planning. Long term relationships with the creators, the influencers and long term relationship from a brand point of view. It's more believable and more credibility. You cannot build up a real conversation on a short term.

Generation T - TikTok is so cool because you can explode without enormous investment and you can transfer your audiences to another platform. Generation T is not about what your age is, but what your mindset is. TikTok's brings people from all ages together around interest.

Live Shopping - is going to be the big thing in 2022 when it comes to influencer marketing, because 

[Casper Lee & Ben Jeffries (Influencer.com) and Anna Anderson]

One of the main take outs similar to opening night:

Go for it. This is your world. Go out there, be curious. Reach out to people who inspire you. Use the internet and social platforms to take advantages of connections.

Mic drop Day 1 - Stay tuned for more Web Summit highlights over the next few days!