Clinton Global Initiative - What's All the Chatter About

By, Caroline Sanderson, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, Social Innovation Practice, Senior Vice President
Oct 1, 2010 8:00 AM ET

This week we explored the barrage of Twitter chatter surrounding the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting, starting with a broad overview of metrics, followed by a ranking of the top 10 most influential tweeters. Yesterday, we analyzed why the top 10 tweets at the conference were retweet-worthy. (Something you should definitely check out, if you are looking to get retweeted more!)

In today’s post we dive into an analysis of the key conversation topics at CGI. Waggener Edstrom Worldwide’s Social Innovation practice organizes it work along four issue areas: Global Health, Sustainability, Economic Empowerment and Access to Information. Using WE twendz pro™, we distilled the cacophony of tweets into the top two to three conversations for each issue. Here is a Cliff Notes version of the most pressing topics discussed by world leaders at CGI:

Global Health

  • Many participants argued passionately that we must secure the health and safety of girls and women. Hillary Clinton made waves in her address with the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, a public-private partnership led by the United Nations Foundation, which empowers women to lead healthier lives by providing one simple thing — a cookstove. Ashley Judd, the actor and board member of Population Services International, shed courageous light on women in Congo gang-raped repeatedly by armed militia.

  • Lance Armstrong’s appearance brought the international spotlight to the growing cancer crisis, albeit a new one for the global development community.


  • Innovation was everywhere in the conversation about energy — from solar-powered classrooms in Africa to delivering clean energy to Haiti via micro-grids. @changemakers even questioned whether energy poverty was the missing Millennium Development Goal.

  • Procter & Gamble Safe Drinking Water Program for children hit on a top priority with this crowd. Top influencers @columbiawater, @black_dove and @csrafrica noted that water conservation is simply good business.

  •  Zerofootprint generated buzz by challenging schools around the world to measure, compare and change their environmental footprint in the never-ending climate war. (Have you checked what your kid’s school is doing to help the environment lately?)

Economic Empowerment

  • The Girl Effect team unveiled an inspiring new video which makes an impactful argument that ending child marriages is essential to breaking the cycle of poverty. Check out Huffington Post’s take on why empowering and investing in girls and women is critical to progress.

  • Education has always been an item of concern at CGI. Last week’s news was the launch of 10×10: Connect the Dots, Educate Girls, Change the World, a groundbreaking film and global social action campaign focused on educating girls.

  • A lively debate around “profiting from the poor” was the outcome of a discussion between microfinance gurus — Muhammad Yunus and Vikram Akula. @beyondprofit got right to the point:  “Yunus says to commercial MFIs: Find some other name for yourself … it’s not microfinance.”  Enough said!

Access to Information

  • Questions abounded about access to technology: Can developing countries leapfrog over old infrastructure models? Can we better use technology in dispersing humanitarian aid around the world?

  • A Cheri Blair Foundation report highlighting women, mobile technology and the issue of gender gaps snowballed through the Twittersphere, starting with top influencer @mobileactive. Key takeaway: On average, a woman is 21 percent less likely to own a mobile phone than a man. Not a good thing!

Last week, I was grounded in rainy Seattle while my colleagues attended CGI in person in NYC. We chuckled about how well one can follow a global event such as CGI through 140 character observations. It can be quite empowering to the average citizen. Tomorrow, my colleague will share his perspectives of CGI with the benefit of having attended in person. Tune in here!


Seema Bhende
Waggener Edstrom Worldwide