Wednesday 5 November 2008

Twitter for EU President! - updated

Let me cite from a recent post by Steffen:
[W]ill any MEPs or MEP hopefuls take a leaf out of Obama’s book and try to Twitter their way into constituents’ hearts in the upcoming campaigns?! It’d probably be a waste of time to send regular updates given the low profile of European elections (no I’m not contradicting myself: updates don’t mean you’re engaging in a conversation and should only be provided with a significant number of followers). But I would advise them to follow what people are saying in social media in general, including Twitter, and the blogosphere in particular. There won’t be much, but some of it could make interesting reading. And if they really want to start an online conversation, I’d recommend they resort to traditional blogging, but I’ll save that for another post.

When it comes to the use of the internet for the next EP elections, EUobserver shows some hesitation with regard to the possible success of the use of the internet, especially because of the profile of the elections:
Struggling to gain the attention of its citizens, the European Parliament is at great risk of seeing another turnout below 40 percent in the upcoming 2009 elections.


[T]he motivation for millions of Americans is the hope of change, something the European Parliament cannot deliver, no matter how many Europeans go and vote.

The European Parliament is not in charge of presenting laws, only capable of influencing them. And Europeans are not asked to deliver an opinion on the election of their president of the European Commission. Real passion about European affairs has only been seen in the three referendums on the Constitution and Lisbon Treaty, but as they resulted in No votes, they have hardly been taken note of as models for participation.

It will take more than an Obama 08 campaign to make European elections into a real act of democratic decision-making - something that European citizens could actually get passionate about.
Consequently, EU parliamentarians should use Twitter, but they should know that nobody will care.

Looks like fun!

More on Twitter and the European Union in this blog.


Umar Ahmed said...

Eoin Ryan MEP is using twitter at

I know that there are a few other MEPs who are doing so but it is not a widespread practice. The internet will not win your campaign for the European Election but it is important to engage people at all levels and through whichever medium is available. Essentially, it can be another way for MEPs to increase the transparency of the institution they serve in and the EU as a whole.

Blogs are certainly much more substantive but I have seen many politicians using their websites in a similar fashion to the way blogs are now written. It seems that the key has become brevity as our attention spans continue to diminish.