Meanwhile the Copenhagen conference has become a “trending topic” on Twitter, a gauge of popularity on this social media site along with topics like “Tiger Woods” and “Santa” (we kid you not). Following the Twitter threads (try #Copenhagen or #COP15) provides a quick Rorschach test of how the social-media crowd feels about the conference. There is, of course, much hand-wringing about the Danish text leak: “First we had the Danish cartoons. Now we have the Danish text. What’s wrong with this country?” wrote a distressed @danish_novelist.
But others quickly dismissed the leak as much ado about nothing. A popular RT (retweet) came from @drgrist: “What to make of the “leaked draft” in #Copenhagen? Like most ‘news’ out of #COP15 for next 2 weeks it is a nothingburger.” @drgrist is, of course, David Roberts, a Seattle-based blogger for Grist. His longer post on the leak is an irreverent putdown of the “journo-hype” that results from thousands of herd media jumping on every twist and turn in Copenhagen:
The place is choked with journalists, not to mention folks from think tanks and NGOs who are supposed to be blogging. There are thousands of people crammed in a small area, all under instructions to update frequently with fresh news, all exhausted and stressed out, all hungry for something to write about… Every bit of pre-positioning gossip and bluster will be blown up to billboard size. There is, in short, immense incentive to exaggerate the significance of every piece of ‘news.’ Keep that in mind as you wade through the deluge of stories over the next two weeks. It’s a marshmallow puff with a few nuts inside; when all’s said and done, nobody will remember much of it. The only story of lasting importance is the shape of the agreement forged at the end.
Grist is part of an interesting experiment in digital collective journalism under way in Copenhagen dubbed the Copenhagen News Collaborative. Liberal-leaning media like Mother Jones, The Nation, and Treehugger have banded together to create an alternative newswire aggregating Copenhagen coverage from about forty reporters, editors, and commentators. Publish2, which pioneered this platform, explains how to go about constructing “the Web’s largest newsroom.”
A handy guide on “How to stay up to date with #COP15 #Copenhagen” using social media comes from @earthsite, a group that provides “new-media” strategies for green businesses. It links to the official Web site for the conference, hosted by the Danish organizers, which provides social-media opportunities in addition to the standard fare of program, documents, and speeches. The U.N.’s Web site, hosted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), also has opportunities for “virtual participation in COP15”. It provides a convenient menu of choices, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter (@UN_climatetalks, @COP15), Flickr, and Google Maps.
There are also some catchy gimmicks for citizen participation, including casting an online vote urging world leaders “to seal a fair and effective climate deal,” or sending “Climate Greetings” via a virtual postcard that conference organizers are displaying on large screens throughout the conference venue. A running slideshow of the more than 9,000 messages to date is available on the conference Web site. They run the gamut, from a fierce Tongan prayer (“O Vanguard of the Climatariat, smite the denialists and lead the masses. O forward-looking shepherds of a mindless flock, go forth and cool the earth”) to a more casual American greeting: “Okay, guys, this climate thing is serious. Please do what’s right for future generations, not for ourselves.” It’s signed, ahem, “Ernest W. Cooler III.”