Atomium–EISMD launched the citizen engagement and media campaign on the Next Generation Internet. The aim was to stimulate a public debate between policymakers, scientists and citizens to create a real public discourse on the topic and better understand the evidence, the constraints and the opinions of citizens across Europe. The campaign was developed together with representatives of European institutions, leading research organisations, key stakeholders and some of the most authoritative newspapers in Europe.
On the 18th of April, the campaign was launched, with dedicated articles published both on the paper and online editions of Atomium media partners, including Der Standard, El País, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, La Libre Belgique, Gazeta Wyborcza, Luxemburger Wort, Público and Sole24ore. Elsevier and the European Commission’s DG Connect facilitated the engagement of researchers. The initiative was also featured on The Guardian, Politico and other specialised outlets. Based on readership, the potential public reached by the campaign was equal to over 5,7 million Europeans.
The campaign ran for 3 weeks and 53 articles were published around three main topics:
(i) The economy (including businesses, employment, and skills);
(ii) The public sphere, with a focus on how the rise of social media and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is disrupting how we access and use information, while new technologies are emerging which could help reverse this trend; and
(iii) Blurring the boundaries between offline and online/virtual worlds and impact of internet technologies on our daily lives.
The online articles contained a link to a questionnaire centred on the topic of the week, which was accessible for the entire week.A social media campaign was also run in parallel with the article publications. The social media campaign reached more than 680.000 people on Facebook, with 12.222 click throughs to survey-related links, over 160.000 people on Twitter, and about 23.000 on Instagram. As a result, over 23.000 unique users reached the REIsearch platform and over 8.500 took part into the online consultation in the form of a questionnaire survey, out of which 3.514 completed the questionnaire survey in full. The launch of the public campaign followed a network and sentiment analysis of public conversations on the next generation internet emerging on the major social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). This large-scale research aimed at gaining a better understanding of stakeholders’ expectations, desires, fears, worries, visions and imaginations when they think and express about the future development of Internet-related technologies. Over 650.000 messages around the next generation internet, generated by 355.451 users, in 54 languages, were recorded and analysed between November and April 2017.