July 8, 2013

58 Minutes

(more webinars coming soon)

Digital Communication in EU Affairs: How to master Twitter, Linkedin & social media in public affairs

Download the PPT here.

Table of Contents:

Making connections
Effective lobbying in Europe
The Neonicotinoids AVAAZ campaign
Google and NSA
Lobbying for a fair deal for cane refiners
EU chats
Policy making on Twitter

Digital Communication in EU Affairs: How to master Twitter, Linkedin & social media in public affairs

Please note that the following transcript has been edited to make reading easier and may slightly differ from what was said in the webinar recording. Disclaimer: We aim to ensure a high level of accuracy, but the webinar and the transcript are for information purposes only and they cannot be considered as legally binding.

Speaker: Matthias Lüfkens (moderator: András Baneth)

Good afternoon everyone. This is a web 2.0 presentation and we will be talking about Digital Communication in EU Affairs. My presentation will be focused on Twitter but it also applies to LinkedIn and Facebook.

Basically in Brussels, there are two places where news breaks. One is Place du Luxembourg, or “Plux”. I think most people who are familiar with the EU scene come to Place du Luxembourg on Thursday evenings to mingle with their peers for after work networking. But of course that is not the only place where news breaks. The other place of course is Twitter.

A great example by Herman Van Rompuy, the President of the European Union who tweeted: “Deal done! The European Council has agreed on the Multi Annual Financial Framework spanning from 2014 to 2020 for the rest of the decade. Worth waiting for.”

Why is this tweet interesting? Well it is one of the first times that EU leaders have taken to Twitter to announce big breaking news. This one was sent after a 25 ½ hour marathon negotiation session in Brussels that led to the first cut in EU spending in its history. So Herman Van Rompuy took to Twitter to announce this deal at 4:20 in the afternoon on a Friday. Immediately his social media staff tweeted that more information would soon follow, at the traditional press conference of course.

But already on Twitter, the deal got its first reaction here from Reinhard Butikofer, an MEP from Green Party who commented: “What the European Council agreed on could be called the dumbest common denominator. This #MFF won’t fly in the European Parliament. Wrong priorities.”

This tweet is really interesting because immediately the announcement on Twitter got a reaction from other EU leaders.

Making connections

Twitter first of all is about making connections. When Jose Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission decided to join Twitter in autumn of 2012, he said on tweet that: “I am delighted to join all of you on Twitter. Let’s build Europe together!”

He signed with his initials JMB and was immediately greeted by Herman van Rompuy: “Tweetcolme @BarrosoEU!” and also, UK’s Foreign Secretary William Hague: “A welcome to Twitter for @BarrosoEU, the President of the @EU_Commission.”

Jose Manuel Barroso replied of course personal thank-you and “@” replies to Herman van Rompuy and William Hague. He was also greeted by many other European leaders.

What is interesting is that these European leaders are now connected, mutually following each other on Twitter. That means they can send each other directs private messages. It is clear it is not them who will be managing these accounts on a daily basis. Some of them are actively, personally tweeting. However it is another communication channel that they have established here. Of course, they can pick up the phone and call each other or send each other emails but Twitter provides another new way to get in touch with someone.

The beauty of Twitter is that you can get in touch with someone publicly by sending someone an “@” mention, or if they follow you, through direct message. So, Jose Manuel Barroso and the other European leaders are now really well connected on Twitter and that is a great advantage of Twitter to make this direct connection.

Effective lobbying in Europe

Burson-Marsteller recently launched a lobbying survey, interviewing some 600 decision-makers in 19 countries. We asked them their views on lobbying at EU level. The interviewees included politicians, spokesman of national parliaments and Members of the European Parliament as well as senior officials from national governments and the European institutions. The tweet that we sent which was one of the really interesting learnings says that: “Social media was generally perceived to be unhelpful despite being regularly consulted.”

If we look at the figures, 62% of the respondents believe that meetings with industry provide a useful source for appropriate information helping them through the decision-making process. 59% said the same for written briefings but social media comes at the very end. 47% declared that they are not helpful in the decision-making process and only 22% of the respondents said they were helpful.

Respondents considered sectoral news sources and government websites to be the most helpful online media sources but if you look at social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and LinkedIn, they were seen as unhelpful by around two thirds of the respondents and only 9% for Twitter say that the sites were helpful.

This is quite interesting because when we asked them ‘how frequently do you consult the following social media sources for issues related to your work’, nearly a fifth of the respondents said that they use Facebook daily and a similar proportion declared that they use and consult Twitter every day. However, almost half of them (49%) do not use Twitter and around a third of respondents consult blogs daily or at least once a week.

The Neonicotinoids AVAAZ campaign

It is quite interesting that the respondents said ‘we do not rely on social media but we do consult social media sites’ because the decision making process will definitely be influenced by social networking sites. One great example of this new trend is the campaign that AVAAZ started against Monsanto via its online partition platform, basically lobbying for the ban of Neonicotinoids, which are killing the bee population. This campaign received over a million email signatures and it was of course widely spread on Facebook – 650,000 likes on Facebook and 54,000 retweets on Twitter.

The result of this was that on the 29th of April, 15 of the 27 European Member States voted to enact a two-year ban on the use of three Neonicotinoids. Eight nations voted against the ban while four abstained. I think the AVAAZ campaign surely had some kind of influence on that decision. If you do a Google search for Neonicotinoids you basically come across directly Monsanto and bees. Interestingly enough, the website of the Europe Commission with the relevant decision comes up very high as well in the fourth position.

The question now is how companies should respond to these new campaigns on social network. They have to respond in kind and they have to invest in social networking platforms.

Google and NSA

A great example is of course Google that has a specific Europe blog to address Europe’s specific issues. The Google response to the press reports about widespread data gathering through the NSA PRISM operation was done via a blog post signed by the CEO, Larry Page and the Chief Legal Officer of Google, David Drummond, which was also posted on the Europe blog entitled “What the…?”, where they clearly refuted any allegations that they have given openly large scale access to their servers to the NSA. Basically, they used the blog to reply. You cannot reply with a press release to these issues but you need to reply in kind and have a blog in place where you can reply quickly to social media campaigns.

Lobbying for a fair deal for cane refiners

Another great example is the own-initiative campaign that Tate and Lyle have set up lobbying for a fair deal for cane refiners. On their website there is a Youtube video which lays up the issue. Below, you can support this campaign by emailing or simply by sending a tweet.

I think it is really interesting how this campaign site incorporates social media, encouraging viewers and readers to show their support for the cause via Twitter. Tate and Lyle have also set up their own Twitter account @TateLyleSugars for this specific campaign run by Gerald Mason and Tony Bennett. It is a small account that does not have tens of thousands of followers but 399 followers. However, it engages very specifically with its followers, who are the key stakeholders and influencers.

Brussels media is of course the first target that anyone should look at following on Twitter. You can see for example the screenshot ‘Farming today’ from BBC Radio 4 but also Timothy Kirkhope (the MEP), the UK Parliament, Boris Johnson (the mayor of London) and the Lithuanian EU Presidency who has set up a specific Twitter account for their rotating presidency.

Therefore, it is key that you identify the key stakeholders you want to engage with and that you follow them. By following them you make connections. This is very important. You do not have to read everything they tweet. For that, you should create lists and this is what Tate and Lyle have done on Twitter. They are following their subscribing to a number of lists. Of course, the European lists done by the No. 10 Press Office but also the EU institutions and the EU Commissioners lists that are maintained by the European Commission on Twitter, are very useful.

You could also go a step further and create your own lists of influencers, of journalists and of topic-related lists, which are really useful. You could even have private lists of people who follow you that are not publicly viewable. You can then run a direct message campaign by sending a direct message to the key people who follow you. Thus, Twitter allows you a new level of engagement with key influencers. The result of Tate and Lyle’s campaign is that MEP Marina Yannakoudakis intervened in the European Parliament and spoke in favour of the Tate and Lyle campaign whereas later she shared a YouTube video on her own Twitter feeds about: “EU farms subsidies cost taxpayers £44bn. French beet farmers get up to £229m/year yet @TateLyleSugars is struggling”, with a link to the YouTube video.

EU chats

So, I think this is a great example of how you can engage with key European decision makers and MEPs. The European Parliament and the MEPs are very open to dialogue on social networks. Take for example the European Parliament’s Facebook page, which has over 850,000 Facebook likes and 53,000 people are talking about it. In addition, the European Parliament regularly organises Facebook chats with MEPs, which is a great initiative. Still, you need to like the page to be able to participate in the chats that are also happening on Twitter. For example, the new Croatian Commissioner, Neven Mimica, in charge of Consumer Policy, will answer anyone’s question on Twitter for an hour on the 4th of July. The European Commission tweeted this invitation to chat on its Twitter account. Thus, it is quite interesting how the European Commission promotes openness using social networks.

A couple of weeks ago, the European Commission had a specific chat about tourism in Europe “Kicking off in 10 minutes. Ask us with using the #EUchat.”

What Burson-Marsteller did for one of our clients is that it followed the chats and collated them on our Storify account. Storify is a social media tool that helps you collate all the tweets, posts and pictures from Facebook, Google, YouTube and Twitter into a storyboard. During the EU Tourism chat, we did the summary of what was being said and what were the key questions and then we decided if we should recommend to our client to participate in the chat in real time.

Therefore, it is really important to keep your eye out for these chats and occasions when you can really put your questions to European stakeholders and to European leaders because this is a great way to engage into the discussion.

Policy making on Twitter

But beyond the key accounts of decision makers such as the president of the EU Commission and the European Council President, you can also now like policymaking on Twitter. There is a Twitter account of the EU’s TTIP Team. TTIP stands for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement, which is being negotiated currently with the US. This is the official Twitter account of the European Commission’s team involved in the trade talks and you can follow/like the state of the negotiations or what is happening. For example, the chief negotiator tweeted recently at the Friends of the TTIP meeting in the European Parliament “We are not going to negotiate data privacy in this agreement.”

This is quite interesting because on Twitter, the trade deal has of course been criticised in the wake of the revelations about the allegedly US spying of the European representations in the US. People have said that maybe the negotiations should be stopped. On Twitter, the team clearly said that this agreement is not about data privacy.

Interestingly also, Ambassador William Kennard, the US ambassador to the European Union, tweeted that “US and EU are aiming for a successful #TTIP that will inject new energy into the international economic system and serve as a model for others.”

I think over the next weeks and months, we will see a lively public exchange on the state of negotiations. The beauty is that anyone can pitch in and join this discussion simply by either using the # or @ mentioning the different actors of this trade negotiation, which is a new level of public and citizen engagement.

I do not know if you are aware of The State of the EU Twitter account. This is actually a Twitter event account. The State of the EU is an annual gathering of thought leaders bringing together CEOs, MEPs and European stakeholders to discuss aspects of the state of the European Union. Burson-Marsteller has created a specific event account for this which is only active every year in June since 2011 when this meeting is happening. What we are doing is live-tweeting the event and the quotes from the participants using the #StateoftheEU relaying what is being said.

Moreover, at the State of the EU event, the European Leader of the Year Award is handed out, which went this year to Guy Verhofstadt who said to the gathering: “We need not less Europe, but we need to reinvent Europe. It is the only way to regain power’.”

This was tweeted of course on the State of the EU Twitter account, which at the end of the event thanked the conference participants and everyone who followed the account with a special thanks to the speakers and the sponsors. It also received a reaction from Frédéric Vallois, the head of the Communications at Vivendi: “Many thanks to the @StateoftheEU for this day of interesting debates about the future of Europe”, which is a great engagement to the discussion.

The European Parliament has set up a very interesting EU News Hub gathering all the social media feeds of the MEPs not only Twitter but also Facebook and Google. They are ordered by topics and you can have different topics ranging from Croatia’s accession to the EU to the debate about PRISM. Thus, you can follow specifics topics on social media live as they happen. That is a very useful way to engage in the public debate of the EU.

Lastly, I would like to say that official tweets do not have to be boring. If you follow for example Ryan Heath, he is the spokesperson for Neelie Kroes, the Vice President of the European Commission and the Commissioner for the Digital Agenda. Ryan Heath has 3,800 followers and is always with Neelie Kroes, sometimes sharing some private moments. A recent example is the tweet about “Talking start-ups not push-ups with @Schwarzenegger”, a couple of days ago.

Or during an interesting speech held in the Queen’s Bedroom in Ireland, Ryan Heath tweeted: “Would you queue to meet @NeelieKroesEU in the Queen’s Bedroom?! Hilarious!”

And then a couple of days ago, she was at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, looking at the window to which he tweeted: “She promised me she wouldn’t jump @NeelieKroesEU.”

It is really interesting on how Twitter can be used very personally and of course many EU leaders use it to react to events. One important event was the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union. “Highly deserved and highly important!” tweeted the British Prime Minister Carl Bilt.

Herman Van Rompuy said that “It’s a tremendous honour for #EU. Strongest possible recognition of deep political motives behind our Union.”

Jose Manuel Barroso tweeted: “It’s a great honour for the whole of the #EU, all 500 million citizens, to be awarded the #Nobel Peace prize.”

Even Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg pitched in to congratulate the EU: “The EU is a historic peace project for Europe”, he tweeted whereas Finnish Prime Minister, Alexander Stubb, noted that: “The tweets on the Nobel Peace Price show an interesting mix of cynics, idealists and realists” because not all tweets about the Nobel Peace Prize were positive.

Alexander Stubb is actually somebody who uses Twitter really well. He once took a picture of his audience with a Chinese-red Nokia Lumia, which is a Finnish product, thus livening up his pitch about Finnish companies.

The beauty of Alexander is that he puts in his Twitter profile and he tries not to take himself too seriously. His tweets are a mix of serious political statements and personal observations, which are really interesting to follow. He has now over 60,000 followers. Like this tweet: “Finland ranks as the least corrupt country in the world, together with Denmark and New Zealand. We paid the judges well…”

He also tweeted that he “Appreciates feedback through all channels, but when you get over fifty e-mails on the same subject, it feels a bit spammish.” This was about salmon quotas.

He is now writing a Twitter book given his experience in using Twitter, which should come out in the next couple of months. This is definitely something to look out for; a European leader writing a book on how to use Twitter. We are all looking forward to that one.

Thank you very much for your attention and feel free to send me questions by email, via Twitter @Luefkens or @BMdigital.

András: Thank you very much. There is one issue which I think could be interesting to discuss and that is the relationship between Twitter or tweets, websites and in-person meetings. Because we have seen in the BM lobby guide that personal meetings and face to face interactions are still rated the highest in their influence when it comes to lobbying. So how do you see this eco-system or this different basis of interaction, which might start with a tweet, may continue with a website and background materials and might end up in a personal meeting?

Matthias: It all depends where it starts. It might start with a personal meeting where you take a picture of somebody and then distribute it via Twitter because people want to know what was being said at the meeting – for instance between Neelie Kroes and Arnold Schwarzenegger – and interact with it. This is opening a very private meeting to the world because anybody can react to it. Now, how do you go the other way around? You make connections on Twitter and then at one point you end up meeting people. I personally meet sometimes my Twitter connections months or years later and it seems like we already know each other. Therefore, Twitter is a really useful tool to amplify one-on-one, personal meetings, which are still very important as was very clearly stated in the lobbying guide.

That brings me to the following question: ‘How long will it take for social media to become a relevant and common used tool?’

For the moment is true that the Twitter crowd, the Twitter scene is very small and very exclusive if you consider that you have journalists, European leaders and other influencers. How long does it take to go mainstream? It will still take a couple of years. In Europe we are lagging a bit behind compared to the US. The US Twitter was popularised by Oprah Winfrey on the Oprah Winfrey show, which really gave a major push to Twitter.

The problem in Europe is that many European leaders and politicians only see Twitter as a tool of social media to win elections and thus, they are very active during election campaigns. One great example is the personal Twitter account of French President François Hollande. Once he won on the 18th of May last year, he said that for any news about the presidency, kindly follow the official Élysée account.

In some countries, for example Switzerland, the government has not yet decided to use Twitter for government affairs and there are only two government agencies or ministries that are using Twitter. All the others are still standing on the sidelines because they say that Twitter is not really used in Switzerland but still emerging. However, if you want to make connections on an international level, I think that the way to go is social media. It is not the only channel but it is definitely a growing and important channel. Therefore, I fully agree that one-on-one meetings are still very important and will continue to be important.

András: Another question here is whether ‘politicians lose their credibility when they only post or tweet but never actually interact with their followers and friends and so there is no real conversation taking place. What is your impression about politicians and high level officials who may only broadcast but not interact?

Matthias: It is an interesting question. Yes, I would prefer that they interact via re-tweet, @ mention, or even better @ reply. Great examples besides the EU are the Prime Minister of Uganda, Amama Mbabazi, and the President of Rwanda, where over 95% of their tweets are @ replies. They do not broadcast but only reply to questions they get on Twitter. Those are really great examples of direct engagement with your constituents.

On the other hand, you have broadcast accounts like the one of Pope Francis @Pontifex which is only broadcasting. There is actually no interaction and no engagement since the account only follows the eight other accounts that the Pope is tweeting in and the other language accounts.

Now, is this the right way to use it? Well, it does help because the Pope has become the second most followed person on Twitter with this strategy in just over six months; the account is second most followed after Barack Obama’s. The same goes for the President of Indonesia. Thus, you could have broadcast accounts that work. Of course, I would prefer engagement because that is what Twitter and social media allow you to do; have direct access to our leaders.

There is a question regarding the reference to the upcoming Twitter book of Alex Stubb. I recommend following his Twitter account and sending him a tweet asking when the book comes out. He is still writing it as far as I can see from his Twitter feeds.

András: One more question is on the use of Twitter for NGOs. Any suggestions to best use it to engage with project participants or stakeholders?

Matthias: Use of Twitter for NGOs or for any corporation: a) you have to be present on Twitter at least to monitor what is being said about you; b) engage; c) follow the influencers; d) participate in the discussion, not just promoting only what you do; e) get shout outs to other people for their work even if it is in the same field; f) make sure that every tweet you send is useful to your followers and g) be there irrespective of whether you have 10 followers or 50, 200, 10,000. Make sure that your feed is interesting and not just promote your campaign or your product. Then, you will see that you can basically interact and that this conversation really creates a community. I think that this is not only valid for NGOs but for any organisation on Twitter.

Going a step further, think about who is the spokesperson for your organisation, is it only one person? Should it be only one account? Or you do want to have all staff tweeting so the people see one main account but you can also have the personal account of the spokesperson, of different directors, of the managing board, etc… Really create a multiple voice for your organisation. I think that is the new challenge in communications. Communication does not just go through one channel, through one spokesperson; all people who make up the organisation will become an official spokesperson for the company. So how can you channel their enthusiasm? That is the important thing.

There is another question: What is your take on evaluating the ROI [Return on Investment] on social media? How do we measure and even judge policy impact?

Very good question! That is the million dollar question. If I could give you a formula to calculate the ROI on social media, I would be a very rich man. I would define ROI as follows: the return on interaction is priceless and the return on influence is everlasting. For the moment, branding is the image of your company or your organisation that is improved and it will only have indirect effect on the sales, on your policy, on your campaign. Therefore, it is very hard to quantify ROI and there are lots of debates on how you can quantify it. I would say again; think about the return on interaction that is priceless.

András: I think it is important for anyone who engages in social media of any kind to have a relatively clear idea of what their goal is. This relates to branding, which is a classic marketing term, to have your organisation or your issue on the radar of policymakers, or maybe you have a very specific agenda to change a certain piece of legislation and that is certainly easier to measure or to quantify. So I think it is worth a bit of thinking (even if it is not possible to have a 100% clear goal) about what you are trying to achieve with your social media presence.

Question: How do you explain the fact that the respondents to the survey ranked the influence of social media on the decision making so low?

Matthias: I do believe they did not want to admit that they actually read Twitter and Facebook and are being influenced from what they read. I know from a fact that when you work in an organisation and you say that you are doing digital media search and you are everyday on Facebook and Twitter and you pay for it, your colleagues will then say, “Well, you cannot possibly be working.” So I think that explains the fact that the respondents ranked social media so low. I think that we will see that number go up over the next years in our surveys. We will also see that the discussions on social networks are more fruitful. The time where people were tweeting what they had for breakfast is definitely over. Twitter is a tool to communicate more substantial things.

András: There is an interesting question on video blogging and video blogs. It might be a niche area in terms of putting more video content on social networks.

Matthias: I do like video content and there are new tools out there, which we need to try. It is not only YouTube. You can do Vine, a six second video or a 15 second Instagram video. I think you can get across quite a bit of information in six seconds but it all depends. If you do a traditional YouTube blog and you see it is 10 minutes long or it is half an hour long, like this seminar, then people will watch it later. If it is an hour long, they will then say, “Oh that is a bit long, do I have an hour to watch this?”

I think video is probably not as good because it is very difficult or almost impossible to read diagonally and to skip through it very quickly, which you can do much easier in text. So I think this is the main disadvantage of video blogging. But of course, if you have interesting topics and stories to tell and if it is well filmed, people will follow it differently or even tweet about it and will wait for your weekly video blogs. Thus, it all depends. However, watching a video fast forward is not the easiest way. We will see how this short video formats will influence that. I know that some politicians have tried the six second Vine video. In particular, the French government is using it whenever somebody visits Matignon, the seat of the government in Paris. The social media staff prepares then a short Vine video of about six seconds, showing who is visiting, which is interesting. I do not know the news value of it but it is an interesting use.

Question: How can the European institutions make use of social media in order to interact with the citizens and gain their attention/interest to then get their votes in real life for the elections in 2014?

Matthias: I think the MEPs have understood that if you want to show what you have done in Brussels, you have to say it on social media. Thus, most of them do have social media accounts, which will become ever so active before the European elections next year. Now, the question is will it have an impact on voter turnout? I would hope so but I am a bit sceptical. I think to increase voter turnout, they might want to consider digital voting, which is being followed in some countries. But they would definitely use these social media tools for the elections. There is the example of one person who is not doing that: it is Angela Merkel who has refused to open a Twitter account even though Germany will vote in September. But then again social media and Germany is an unexplored territory as she explained a couple of weeks ago during the visit of Barack Obama. I believe that we will definitely see much more interaction in the near future.

The other positive note is that now you can follow the MEPs live on Twitter and really see the work they are doing because before you would not have had this direct access. They would do the traditional communications via community meetings, press releases etc. Now we have a much broader access, the general public has much more broad access to what the representatives are doing in Brussels. I think that is a very, very good thing.

András: Another question which may be worth asking is LinkedIn. How important do you think LinkedIn is in EU affairs or generally public affairs, LinkedIn groups or other sorts of interaction there?

Matthias: Very, very important. LinkedIn is seen as the professional and serious social network even though I believe it becomes more and more like Facebook. Very interestingly, they have launched the influencer program where you can follow key influencers with some of the EU politicians among these select groups; I think this is very important. LinkedIn has the aura of being more professional and it allows you to create private and discussion groups, very much like Facebook where you can have really good discussions. That is why I am a big fan of LinkedIn. I did not show any examples because you have to be in the specific groups and cannot just post your statement and leave the group and then not react. It is really the conversation that is important and LinkedIn groups are a great tool for that. I think it is very useful especially for policymaking if you want to connect to the right people since they are all on LinkedIn. Thus, make sure you find the right groups for your topic, for your campaign, for your product and take part in the discussions, which is the key.

Question: Talking about the international public, do you think Twitter and Facebook communications by the EU institutions and officials reach people and governments globally – Russia, China, US, Africa? To what extent does it contribute to improving the image of the EU in the world?

Matthias: I think due to its global nature, whenever you post on Twitter it is not just reaching the Brussels crowd, the people who gather on Plux every Thursday, but it goes global and is definitely a way to engage. You will see in the diplomacy study that we are bringing out in two weeks very interesting statistics about insights and the reach of Europe globally. I think it is the best way if not the only way to reach these audiences in other countries: Russia, China, Africa and the US with of course the caveat in China. if you want to be present in China you have to use Chinese social networks. We have seen the example of Alex Stubb who is on Sina Weibo. I think Herman Van Rompuy is also tweeting in Chinese on the Chinese social networks. I think that the use of social media actually brings the world closer together. We can reach out to people who are at the end of the world and even though they will not vote for MEPs, it is a great way to brand the EU globally.

Question: What about the ROI of political campaigns in terms of votes or signatures for a petition – any figures?

Matthias: I do not have any figures but if you have a campaign and you want to see how many people come through social media to that campaign, you can measure that very clearly by using web analytic tools such as Google analytics to see where the visitors come from. You can see if they came from social media, Facebook, Twitter, or other traditional websites. So you can measure the ROI very clearly in terms of clickthroughs; but that is just one part of the overall return on investment that you want to measure.

Question: What will be the influence of social media on the European elections in 2014? What major improvement will we see compared to elections in 2009?

Matthias: I think the EU elections in 2014 will be exactly the social media elections that we have seen with Barack Obama in 2012. The use of social media will grow exponentially compared to 2009 and will be probably the key for any campaign. Nobody will be elected MEP if he does not have some kind of social media presence next year. That is my prediction.

Thank you very, very much.

András: Matthias, thank you very much for your time and insights. It was extremely interesting and useful. An interesting background information is that in the European Commission, many of the officials in DG CONNECT, which is responsible for the digital agenda, are being trained how to use Twitter. We are talking about EU officials who are still under a hierarchy and certain discretions and obviously they need to be aware of that. However, in terms of engaging directly with policymakers that could be a great tool.

When you mentioned that you can even establish connections with people you have never met, curiously enough Matthias and I have not managed to be in the same physical location at the same time but we have been interacting quite a lot in preparation of today’s webinar. So that is the next step; that we go to Place Lux and have a beer when he is in Brussels next time!

Thank you very much everyone for being with us and hope to see you next time.

Matthias: Thank you András, see you on Place Lux!

Share This
Newsletter Powered By :