Wednesday, 21 October 2009

The "new" European Parliament?

Yesterday, Barroso presented himself in the European Parliament, answering questions from Members of this, our common Parliament, and several blogs have reported about it: here, here, here, here.

Barroso even got coverage on the EP's feed on Twitter, and a summary on the EP website. But did anyone really notice? Did the "new" Parliament make anything out of this change? Did MEPs comment publically, use new technologies to communicate about this event? I didn't notice much.

And isn't this "event" a good example that not much has changed, that MEPs, new or old in the newly elected parliament, did not use the new start to adapt to 21st century communication?

Isn't this kind of public critique by MEPs on the working methods within the Parliament or this kind of active communication on Twitter still the exception, although we would expect our representatives to use the means that our time provides to talk directly to and with citizens (or at least to an interested public)?

Didn't MEPs hire people with communication skills, don't they get enough internal and external expertise to get their work to a new level, making the European Parliament a "communication parliament" instead of just being a "working parliament" hiding its expertise in the Brussels bubble?

Do people like MEP Alvaro who speak at fancy public affairs events but who just follow 18 people on Twitter actually contribute to changing the European Parliament or aren't they just talking about it?

I do not see a new European Parliament, no matter whether it has the first "Facebook president", I see the old Parliament with some new people - what do you see?

12 comments:

Eurosocialiste said...

MEPs didn't communicate on the event because they didn't attend. I swear there must have been about 10% of MEPs present, at least that's what the camera led to believe... a shame. On the 5 years to come, let's follow them closely so we can confront them at next elections.

@rock_0la said...

shared opinion ...
probably the multilinguism aspects not really in favor of boosting theatrical and dramatic dimensions of the debate.Nevertheless,MEPs interventions like those of Pervenche Bérès, Rebecca Harms or Guy Verhofstadt where pretty catchy.
May the next Q&A be more groovy !

Macarena Rodríguez said...

Yes, Julien! After writing the post yesterday on the Question Time, I have checked if the Spanish media has spoken on it. The answer: none. Just one exception "El Mundo" but without mention that it was a Question Time, a new thingo on the EP. It seems like a press release done by Barroso... Regarding MEPs, exactly the same. The work is there, bloggers and twitter users have spoken on it but there wasn't a promotional campaign on the media or announcing this "new thing: Question time". On the other hand, EP has used Facebook and Twitter this is a big step but they can not oblige to MEPS to use too... do you have any idea for improuving?

Julien Frisch said...

Maybe the EP web editors could ask tweeting and blogging MEPs to use those events to publish under a common hashtag (e.g. "#EPqt" for "European Parliament question time") so that they could focus and maybe even assemble the web reactions on Barroso.

This would at least bring together the multilingual diversity, and one could then use automatic translation to get an idea of the different opinions and facets of perception of Barroso's performance.

Ben R said...

First of all it was the first time these people have done this - it takes time for this to work. Credit for trying it.
But the model is severely limited. To set a one minute limit is dumb - what kind of meaningful exchange can you have in that time? This is not accountability - this is twitter-democracy, accountability in 140 characters.
To be fair to the EP web team, they were attempting to feed their twitter stream with the q&a - but it was of limited interest - mainly because so little of interest was - or could be - said

Steve said...

This was an experiment for the web team too, of course. It was tough to tweet such quick-fire Qs and As in 22 languages and keep up, and there was no time to handle the supplementaries. We will get better with practice!

For us the important thing to know is how interesting/useful (assuming an interest in the material content) this is for users of the site: (i) as a real time service and (ii) as a summary subsequently.

Our feeling is that an RSS box, of the type we put on the blog top page to try the idea out, is one of the more promising avenues. (see www.ep-webeditors.eu)

Thanks for the hash tag idea, Julien - we realise we needed one, but the idea to coordinate with MEPs is a valuable addition.

Dick Nieuwenhuis said...

1. Is there a list of all MEPs that Twitter?
2. I know most of the NL ones and can start poking....

Eurosocialiste said...

@ Steve, I think the EP initiative to send tweets on the debate was a great one, and in all languages on top of that! Keep up the good work!

@ Dick, there is an aggregator of all MEP tweets here: http://europatweets.eu/

Dick Nieuwenhuis said...

To be honest:
there was an awfull lot of twittering during he vote on the resolution on press freedom in Italy today (at least from the NL MEPs)!

Julien Frisch said...

Not to be mistaken: This article was not meant as a critique to the web editors who did a perfect job in what they did yesterday!

I was addressing MEPs who do still not use these tools sufficiently, at least not outside self-evident topics like Berlusconi where in fact they have nothing to decide and talk is all they can do...

The hashtag proposal was just an idea that came up, and if the web editors would introduce one, as a coordinating force, MEPs could simply follow and thereby contribute to the cohesiveness of EP tweeting.

But again, I appreciate the step made yesterday by the editors' team; their tweets were my source on the debate when I came home an hour after the debate.

Brussels Blogger said...

I think the less specific hash tags the better. Why not just #ep or even #eu ?

Julien Frisch said...

No, it needs to be more specific. #eu for example is not only used by EU Twitter users and it will be difficult to separate EU tweets from other tweets.