... this is the last real post of this blog, and the day after tomorrow at midnight, quite exactly two years after he came into existence, the blogger "Julien Frisch" will cease to exist.
Two years ago, I have started this blog because I wanted to. I just thought it was right and necessary to discuss European politics from the perspective of a convinced European. And so I did.
However, I didn't want to throw myself into the public at that time. I also didn't want to take my private history with me, I wanted to try to develop a new voice, one that went beyond what I had done before. I wanted to talk about what came to my mind, and I wanted that my words were just taken as the words of an individual person; I wanted to write freely without being interpreted in the context of my private or professional life.
So I decided to write the blog under a pseudonym - "Julien Frisch".
I've always liked the name "Julien" because it sounds good in English, French, and German (even in Spanish), and I added "Frisch" mainly because of Max Frisch, the Swiss author - Switzerland being some kind of a small European Union and Max Frisch an author that I liked reading. Important was also that the combination "Julien Frisch" didn't produce any Google results at that time, so I wouldn't take up a spot that was already covered by others.
In the first year - despite the blog receiving some relevant attention in the EU sphere although the actual readership has never been big compared to big national blogs - almost nobody (except for 1-2 friends) in my surroundings knew I was writing a blog. Even up until today there is only a limited amount of people inside and outside Brussels who know my real name and there is still only a limited amount of friends, family members and people I have met outside the web that know my blog because I told them.
I never had the intention to promote myself, and I have no intention to change that with this last post. So you got to know me as Julien Frisch, and you will see me vanish as Julien Frisch.
The main reason why I will stop writing this blog and stop using the pseudonym is that I feel limited in my work as a political scientist and also that I want to get involved in new projects related to EU politics that would bring about conflicts of interest if I continued writing under a pseudonym.
Actually, I've never had a problem using the pseudonym because I've never been directly involved in EU matters or lived in Brussels (until recently) while writing it.
I even started to react very well to that new name after a while. But today it makes me feel restricted in becoming active outside the digital sphere, in particular because I always have to think about whether I need to tell persons my blogging background or not. Because of the latter I also get uncomfortable as a political scientist whenever I ask people to talk with me.
In addition, blogging on this blog also takes up a lot of time. And since beside my work as political scientist I want to devote some more time for other EU- and non-EU-related projects, there is also the problem that days only have 24 hour and weeks only 7 days.
Hence, I needed to make a choice, and the choice has been made against the blog and against the pseudonym.
Don't get me wrong: This is no spontaneous decision, I've been thinking about that for while already, but I feel that now is the time to leave. I will continue contributing to the development of the euroblogosphere through Bloggingportal.eu, and I will also continue to be around in EU social media communication. But this will not be in the context of this blog and not under the pseudonym that has followed me for the last 24 months.
When I will re-appear, I will be my real me, and even if I will have to start from the scratch, I don't want to take "Julien Frisch" with me. Call it creative destruction or an idiotic digital suicide, but the decision has been taken.
So this blog and this identity will come to an end, the euroblogger "Julien Frisch" will disappear into the digital nirvana from Thursday at midnight and I'll leave this identity behind without much regret because while it has been a great time I still love to move on.
I hope you enjoyed reading and following this blog and my Twitter account, and I hope I could inspire one or the other person to become active and to engage online and offline in EU politics.
It's actually not difficult to become a euroblogger, just take the courage to attack the little stupid things happening around EU decision-making every day, follow 2-3 subjects of interest over time to be able to tell a real story, and interact with others who are involved inside and outside the EU sphere. Share your knowledge and your ideas, spread news and discussions, and you will realise that even when your audience is not massive you reach out to people who care.
Go and fight the hierarchies and the ignorance of the higher ranks, disclose the hidden politics and secret circles that have formed to profit from the complexity of the Union, attack the narrow-minded and the satisfied, show that bureaucratic politics are not without alternatives, unveil that diplomatic language only exist to cover the failure to actually produce solutions, make your voice heard from inside the institutions and shout into the half-open doors of these institutions if you are on the outside.
Write in English or German, Maltese or Polish, but do it, just do it! If we don't do it, the Union might fail due to a lack of open and honest critique.
And don't hesitate, as I did, to use a pseudonym, as long as you stick to it, as long as you don't use it to protect lies or undue attacks. I feel that the pseudonym has given me the freedom to be more objective, to be more direct, to cover issues because I found it important to cover them, not because I wanted to present my person in the best possible way. It allowed me to experiment with my identity, with my style(s), with my thoughts and political positions.
This blog may not have existed if I would have been legally obliged to disclose my real name. And I would not have been the person I am today, doing the things I do the way I do them. This is meant to be a statement against anybody who wants to prevent anonymous or pseudonymous writing.
Yet, it doesn't mean that this is the perfect model, it's just an option that might work well for some people in some situations as it has worked for me over the last two years. I still think that in an ideal society we would all be able to write openly and freely about what we think and about what we want to write in our own name, but society isn't ideal, so sometimes our choices aren't either.
Now these are definitely the last words of the last article of this blog and I could go through a long list of people who deserve thanks and congratulations for so many different reasons, but I will just quit by saying good bye and leaving quietly into the summer sun of Brussels.
See you around in Europe, online or offline!
PS.: The comments of this blog will stay open until the day after tomorrow, 11.59 pm, and then I will close them forever. I will also stop writing on my Twitter account at this time. My email address will remain active, so if you need to contact me for whatever reason in the future, feel free to do so.