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Quote of the Week: Tom Foremski
Mar 18th, 2010

Internet 1.0 was about being able to publish to anything with a computer screen. Now, anything with a screen can publish back. That’s what social media represents…the ‘me’ in media.

Tom Foremski, SiliconValleyWatcher

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Dear Commissioners, stop broadcasting, and start engaging!
Feb 9th, 2010

In the new European Commission set-up, there are two nominations that make me quite sceptical: that of Neelie Kroes at the Digital Agenda, and that of Viviane Reding at Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship.

First the person who will be in charge of the so-called digital agenda for Europe is a 69-year-old woman, current Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes. I can’t help but wonder: is a person who should actually be retired the right one to lead Europe into the future? Can she understand what the digital revolution is all about? I doubt it. The Spanish socialist party’s spokesperson for the digital economy is a 30-year-old woman. I think that’s the way it should be because one cannot apply old methods to new phenomena.

Then the Communication portfolio – held by one of the most decent Commissioners so far, Margot Wallström, simply disappeared. Apparently, the competence for communication will be under Viviane Reding’s portfolio. I followed her hearing. Although it is not humanly possible to follow 3 hours of Commissioner hearing -and I might have therefore missed something- I’m pretty sure there were almost no questions about communication. At some point, as this blog reports, Viviane Reding mentioned that, as a former journalist her approach would be to find interesting stories to tell about the EU. Clearly she still thinks that in order to make the EU closer to the citizen, the EU needs to be better communicated. As many EU communicators, she’s wrong. The EU needs to communicate WITH the citizens and not TO the citizens. So I’m begging you, please: stop broadcasting, and start engaging!

EU leaders’ basic misunderstanding on how they should communicate is well reflected in their use of social media. I did a quick study. On Facebook, José Manuel Barroso has 337 fans, Catherine Ashton 204, Neelie Kroes 717, and Viviane Reding… well, she just doesn’t have a profile. To give you a point of comparison, I -Miss Anybody- personally have 565 friends on Facebook, and 155 fans of the Eurosocialist fan page. Surely top EU officials can do better than that! The presence of EU leaders on Twitter is even more pathetic. They simply are not there at all, at least officially, because the vacuum their absence creates has been filled by either fake accounts: such as @JMDBarroso and @hermanvanrompuy or cybersquatting: @CatherineAshton, @VivianeReding @neeliekroes.

Dear Commissioners, you can’t be serious. Communicating with citizens is actually easy to do: just go where they are. You ought to take an example from the European Parliament president, Jerzy Buzek, who has a remarkably different approach: 2.462 fans on Facebook, an official Twitter profile that has already 1.006 followers, though it opened just a few weeks ago, and he is the only one of the above to have links to his social network accounts on his Web page. Last month the European Commission’s Internet editors and webmasters published an appeal to their bosses so that they start harnessing the power of the Internet for better communication. This letter clearly shows that the Commission has competent staff on the matter. The question then is: how long will EU leaders keep on ignoring the communication revolution that is taking place at the moment?

NB: Thanks to the good work of Commission staff, a list of EU institutions’ Twitter and Facebook accounts can be found here.

UPDATE February 10th: @dicknieuwenhuis informs me that Janez Potočnik, new Commissioner for the Environment has opened a Twitter account today! Congratulations!

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Happy Birthday to Bloggingportal.eu!
Jan 26th, 2010

Today we are celebrating bloggingportal.eu’s first birthday. It’s hard to believe it is still so young. It now aggregates more than 500 euroblogs and blogs talking about the EU in all kinds of languages. The project is grassroots. We are not getting any funding. It’s a team of voluntary bloggers who each day, during their free time, select the best euroblog content for you and tag the posts. Inevitably some languages are represented better than others (English, German, French and more recently Spanish). That’s because however multilingual our team of bloggers is, we do not speak all European languages. And if you want to join the team, please do! Just send an email introducing yourself and your blog at: info @ bloggingportal.eu See you on bloggingportal.eu!

bloggingportal-1year

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It took us one week to get a gender-balanced Commission
Nov 26th, 2009

When we launched the on-line campaign for a gender balanced Commission, there were only 4 female nominees to the European Commission. In just a week time, we got 5 more. Did we have an impact? I hope so. One thing is for sure, there was great enthusiasm with this campaign. None of us got paid to work on it. We all did it during our free time, simply trying to make the most out of our skills and networks. And it worked.

GBC1Within only one week, we got about 800 people to sign our petition for a European Commission with at least one third of women, and 2.000 fans on our Facebook page. We managed to get press articles in European VoiceEl Mundothe Guardian and New Europe. Many bloggers and twitterers, along with the European Women’s Lobby and New Europe, agreed to be public supporters of our campaign. Although PES Women President Zita Gurmai mentioned our campaign on her blog, no politician formally agreed to publicly appear as a supporter of our campaign. I wonder why. Is it that they didn’t feel comfortable with supporting a campaign promoting candidates from various political parties? Or is it that they were simply waiting for our campaign to be big enough so that they couldn’t possibly ignore it anymore?

Anyway, I was very happy to be involved in this campaign, which conveyed the tremendous power of social media, and I look forward to next one! Any idea what it should be on?

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I attended PdF09 and I will attend PdF10
Nov 26th, 2009

This weekend, I had a fantastic time at the Personal Democracy Forum in Barcelona, the conference where technology passionates and politics addicts meet. I have to admit I didn’t learn much during the workshops but on the other hand, that might be because I already know much, which is a good sign. Some presentations inspired me though. But that’s not what matters the most anyway.

At PdF EU -just as any conference- the most important is the people you meet. And I met lots of fascinating people, some of which I will collaborate with on common projects: the staff of the Norwegian Labour party, the PES activist friends from Clermont-Ferrand, the organiser of the Brussels girl geek dinners, the people behind Europatweets, the staff from La Netscouade and other Internet agencies, and many more inspiring people.

So, well done PdF! I am glad I was part of it. Now I’m back to Brussels with my mind full of new project ideas, which is probably the best deliverable you could expect from that conference. I am looking forward to helping develop the PdF network in Europe and attending PdF10, which -I think- should take place in Barcelona again (However considering my Spanish origins, I’m probably being biased on that one).

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Interested in how technology is changing politics?
Oct 18th, 2009

Then come to the Personal Democracy Forum in Barcelona on November 20-21!

For six years, Personal Democracy Forum has been THE place in America where politicos and technologists gather to learn from each other, network, and glimpse the future. And now it’s coming to Europe!

Topics to be discussed include:

  • Pan-European politics: Can the internet connect the dots?
  • New possibilities for collaborative government
  • Using the internet to open up politics outside the parties
  • Transparency and participation: What is real e-government?
  • What should European politicians and parties learn from the Obama victory?
  • Using social media to transform the relationship between voters and their representatives
  • State of the art politech: how to use mobile, video and social networking to advance your cause
  • New media vs traditional media: how to navigate the new environment

For more information and to register, click here!

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The best of the web: the Conservatives are victims of cybersquatting
Oct 5th, 2009

If you take a look at the European Parliament’s page on political groups, it seems that four months after the European elections, the Tory-led European Conservatives and Reformists Group still does not have a website, and neither does the even more Eurosceptic Europe of Freedom and Democracy Group.

Yet if you search on Google for “European Conservatives and Reformists Group” you will see that THERE IS a temporary website for the group called ecrg.info. The page provides an email address where you can contact the ECR group. In a recent blogpost, the social-democrat blogger Jon Worth reveals that he is the owner of the ecrg.info domain name. He has received all sorts of queries regarding the ECR group through the contact email address, and has replied “informing them that they are victims of cybersquatting and asking the valid question: how can any political organisation that has gone three months without a web presence be taken at all seriously?” Very good question, indeed.

Click to read the full story on Jon Worth’s website.

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PES activists: join our Wiki page for the Prague Congress!
Oct 1st, 2009
© Chourka Glogowski
© Chourka Glogowski

PES activists had inspiring debates at their 2009 forum in Dublin. Desmond O’Toole -the Dublin PES activists coordinator- published a summary of these debates on a Wiki page, where PES activists are invited to contribute so we can present our own proposals to the PES congress held in Prague in December.

Come and join the debate on the future of the European left!

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The best of the web: Social connectivity of job applicants
Sep 3rd, 2009

A job vacancy published by a US company specifically requires applicants to have at least 250 followers on Twitter. “Will this set a precedent?”, wonders the blog The Lobby. Find out about the whole story here.

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Social media in plain English
Jul 13th, 2009

Ever wondered what social media actually meant? It’s as simple as ice cream…

So, fellow bloggers: do you think you are like pecan ice cream or rather like pickle ice cream?

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© Eurosocialiste 2010. Everything posted on this blog is my personal opinion and does not necessarily represent the views of my employer or its clients. The content of this blog has been revised by Fabtrad (fabtrad @ gmail.com)