St. Gallen Symposium interviews GovFaces CEO Jon Mark Walls

Social Media has revolutionized the way we communicate and is a prime example of how the young can have profound impact with fresh and innovative approaches toward technology and entrepreneurial spirit. Today, Social Media like Facebook are no longer restricted to students but have become a medium that builds bridges between generations. However, to enter into a meaningful debate on pressing issues remains a challenge as discussions on established sites tend to be superficial and shallow, because users are often predominantly concerned with image cultivation.

Daniel Gómez Iñiguez and Jon Mark Walls, two Leader of Tomorrow who first met at the 42nd St. Gallen Symposium, want to change that. In the aftermath of the symposium two years ago, they founded GovFaces, a political social media site that enables users to address questions directly to their elected representatives. The site went online in early march 2014 and currently focusses on the elections for the European Parliament in May this year. After just two weeks the platform already connects 1000 users with 20 active members of the European Parliament and European Commissioners. We talked to Jon, who is CEO of GovFaces, about his project, entrepreneurship and the role of the St. Gallen Symposium.

Jon, young people are often accused of being politically apathetic and older generations of being indifferent toward the concerns of the youth. Do you agree with that and if so could GovFaces help to circumvent this Clash of Generations?

I do agree that there are many different (and often strong) feelings, impressions and perceptions between segments of society. Though age and the various cultural stereotypes that come with it, do sometimes present certain challenges in terms of connecting and communicating, the problem we are trying to solve is much bigger. We recognized the need to create an arena where it wasn’t just perceptions of apathy or indifference that were addressed, but also impressions stemming from other social factors such as race, gender, economic status, education, history and language among many others.

When it comes to increasing interest among younger populations and framing the discourse in a way that is both meaningful and inviting for older generations, we had to ask ourselves again, what was the missing link?”

To read the rest of the post please visit the St. Gallen Symposium blog.

GovFaces CEO Jon Mark Walls speaking at the University of Geneva
GovFaces CEO Jon Mark Walls speaking at the University of Geneva