This week, more than 4000 bloggers, thought leaders, and Internet activists from all over the world meet in Berlin for the 6th Re:Publica Conference, to exchange ideas and share their views on the future of our society and all things Internet and digital.

I was unable to attend this year, but followed the talks and online buzz using Radian6. You’d be surprised how much you can learn about a conference measuring the online conversations around it.

With our insights dashboard, we can follow the most-discussed topics, the most thought-provoking speakers, and even the quality of the WiFi connection in the new venue! But most importantly, we can see the impact of all this social buzz.

Looking at some of the numbers it feels that Re:Publica grew out of its nickname “Klassentreffen” (class reunion) with more than 4000 attendees sharing almost 30 000 posts in the first two days. Even though Re:Publica is well known as being a Blogger Conference, it is interesting to see that 97 percent of the conversations are happening on micromedia like Twitter.


Following the conversation cloud yesterday evening, it was clear that people had a lot of fun. Especially during the session, “Poetry Spam” where four girls presented some of the best and poetic spam messages (“die vier Damen vom Spam”).

Re:Publica is well known as being quite a political conference, as you can see from the session topics. However, I was missing this fact in the online conversations, posts and trending topics. For instance the talk about ACTA presented by Glyn Moody on the first day of the conference had far fewer discussions than the nice new venue (‘Station’), or the quality of the WiFi (‘WLAN’).

The same can be said about the new campaign “Adoptier Deinen Abgeordneten” (‘Adopt your member of parliament’) from the association “Digitale Gesellschaft e.V.”. This campaign allows to virtually become a godfather for assembly men and women in the German Bundestag to advise them on net politics.

Looking at the different media types discussing ACTA and Re:Publica 2012, mainstream media seemed to be much more active than bloggers. A similar trend can be seen for “Adoptier Deinen Abgeordneten”.

Comparing the online mentions of some of the top influencers in the last two days, the most talked-about speakers were Eben Moglen, who gave a thought-provoking speech about “Why Freedom of Thought Requires Free Media, and Why Free Media Require Free Technology” and of course Sascha Lobo, Germany’s most prominent author, blogger and microblogger.

The conference closes today, after 3 days of compelling talks, tweets and coverage. The full social picture of Re:Publica 2012 is yet to emerge. If you want to get an idea about the content of each day, right now the live stream and the mainstream press coverage give a good understanding, but only if you follow the #RP12 twitter hashtag can you see the attendees’ real-time reactions and mood.

So in combination, I feel as though I had the (almost) full Re:Publica experience. Obviously, I would have loved to see everyone there in Berlin. I guess there’s always next time. I look forward to a few more hours of following today’s tweets and live stream. And of course I’ll plug them into Radian6.