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Twitter lobby

This report, noted by the FH Public Affairs Blog from Washington DC, describes how lobbyists in DC are using Twitter to communicate directly with Members of Congress’ ‘blackberries’.

For this to work, you need a critical mass (or at least the key Chairmen and Rapporteurs) on Twitter, so it may not work just yet in Europe.

It’s all about communication, as FH’s DC office has noted frequently on their blog.

April 7, 2009 at 2:12 pm 2 comments

Let’s compare: Tweeting MEPs vs. Tweeting Congressmen

The Hill, Washington DC’s version of the venerable EuropeanVoice, has a sub-site called ‘Twitterroom‘, providing ‘the tweets you need to read’. From their list, its clear that many more elected officials in the US have jumped on the Twitter bandwagon. It’s also not clear to me that there are any ‘tweets you need to read’.

There are 535 members of Congress, and 116 are using Twitter, or 22%.

There are 785 members of the European Parliament, and 27 are using Twitter, or 3.5%.

We’re keeping our list of Twittering MEPs up to date and will hopefully see that number increase greatly as the election approaches.

April 6, 2009 at 11:31 am 3 comments

What would you call ‘Rock the Vote’ in Europe?

The Weekly Calendar of Commissioners tells us that European Commissioner for Communication Margot Wallström is meeting with MTV Southern Europe to announce a campaign by MTV to raise awareness of the European Parliament elections among young people.

In the USA, MTV has worked closely with Rock the Vote. They host concerts, organise parties, register voters, and clearly have all sorts of bells and whistles online. Rock the Vote even appeared in a West Wing episode.*

Will Southern Europe see a ‘Rock the Vote’ campaign like in the US?

What would you call the campaign?

  • Serenade the Vote
  • Love the Vote
  • Macho the Vote
  • Sip-a-coffee-and-listen-to-accordion-while-considering-how-to-Approach the Vote
  • Buy the Vote

Later that same day, April 8th, Wallström will take part in a bloggers’ discussion “European Elections 2009: Yes I can” organised by the Bulgarian Branch of Café Babel.

How to Rock the Vote

How to Rock the Vote

* Continuing James’ West Wing analogies, would this make Margot Wallström the EU’s Donna Moss?

April 3, 2009 at 5:41 pm 1 comment

Which MEPs are Twittering? I know a few…

Following on from our digital audit of MEPS last year, we now want to know which MEPs have caught the Twitter bug…

These are just a few we’ve found so far:

  1. Graham Watson
  2. Matthias Groote
  3. Katrin Saks
  4. Benoit Hamon
  5. Eoin Ryan
  6. Neena Gill
  7. Arlene McCarthy
  8. Peter Skinner
  9. Jim Nicholson
  10. Mary Honeyball
  11. Andrew Duff
  12. Daniel Caspary
  13. Jules Maaten
  14. Jeanine Hennis
  15. Sophie in ‘t Veld
  16. Daniel Cohn-Bendit
  17. Åsa Westlund
  18. Anna Hedh
  19. Kathalijne Buitenweg
  20. Helga Truepel
  21. Colm Burke
  22. Joost Lagendijk
  23. Gunnar Hökmark
  24. Dagmar Roth-Behrendt
  25. Alexander Alvaro
  26. Jorgo Chatzimarkakis
  27. Richard Corbett
  28. Ed McMillan-Scott
  29. Rodi Kratsa
  30. Vincent Peillon
  31. Urszula Gacek
  32. Jean luc Bennahmias
  33. Catherine Trautmann
  34. Bernadette Vergnaud

If you have come across any, please let us know. We shall update this list as we get new names.


Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

P.S. As we mentioned in a previous post, the utility of Twitter is still not clear to us. We do find Daily Show host John Stewart’s opinion about Twitter quite humorous: “They’re struggling because they confused new with good.”

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March 19, 2009 at 6:00 pm 12 comments

A colourful new digital home for the UK office of the EP

They say that you can tell a lot about a person by seeing their home. Well, seeing the new website of the UK Office of the European Parliament, I would guess it was designed by someone bored of the EP’s preferred colour of sun-bleached blue and who is a bit of an architecture fan. Why else would the UK Office put the Strasbourg Parliament building as the banner image? Strasbourg, the home of the EP’s monthly boondoggle!

Continuing my recent trend of being downright cheerful about new EP digital initiatives (it must be the week of sun in Brussels which has cleared off my normal cynicism), I like the new website.

My favourite part is without a doubt the EP News, which has all of the committees listed in an HTML table with each item on the agenda. No need to click to each committee and then open the agenda in a PDF or in a pop-up window. All the information, in one place. Fantastic.

The webmaster asks for feedback on the home page, so I’ve already sent in my comment. Add social bookmarking tools. Let people tag this on delicious, stumbleupon, their Facebook page, etc. Put it out there!

March 19, 2009 at 4:11 pm 4 comments

Did the EP go web crazy?

The EP launched an ambitious, non-partisan, informational and integrated online and offline communications campaign for the June elections, including something called the ‘Choice Box’. Good luck.

Continue Reading March 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm 3 comments

Exclusive here* – photos of the EP elections “tri-dimensional installation”

* These photos are probably not exclusive, as I happened to be walking by the Altiero Spinelli building yesterday with a camera, so I snapped a few photos. When I left the parliament an hour later, the workers were covering the structure with a blue cloth.

As it turns out, this is the ‘hard’ part of the EP communication strategy for the 2009 European Elections. It asks hard questions, such as “How open should our borders be?” and “How much labelling do we need?”. The “soft” part is the EP elections website, launched a few months ago.

The wall, I presume, shows choices, if if that wasn’t obvious, there is a phonebooth “Choice box” next to it.

Tune in to the EP live broadcast at 10:30 for the official unveiling.

March 17, 2009 at 10:24 am Leave a comment

Need help with Google Analytics? Guess who rides to the rescue.

Google is the big friendly monster, out to hug you and provide you with all sorts of free help. In some way, it is sort of frightening. But those of us who help build websites for a living shouldn’t complain when the ‘Analytics Evangelist’, the man behind Google Analytics, offers advice on how to use that service.

The Official Google Blog is publishing a series on measurement, and the first article discusses bounce rates. If you think this means the number of times per hour that someone jumps up and down on your website, you definitely need to read the article.

Key learning: ‘Puked’ is actually a technical digital term.

February 23, 2009 at 3:27 pm 3 comments

Now, what’s the definition of dialogue?

Kudos to the EPP group for their new website – DialogueTV. It features a centrally placed, embedded video player and an easy channel-selection feature, allowing one to watch videos sorted into the areas of Climate Change, Demographic Change, A Prosperous Europe, A Safer Europe and Europe in the World. It looks and feels a lot like the EPP-ED tv site, coincidentally.

The Welcome to DialogueTV (Winter Introduction) video says, “Please do send us your questions on the issues and we will put them to the EPP members.” Above the player, at the top left of the web page, a  little gray button can be used to: “Send us your comments”. I looked on the site and did not see any list or display of the comments that the EPP has received, or the EPP’s response to any received comments, or even other viewers comments on previous comments, as on YouTube. So, as it stands, I don’t see much dialogue.

[Update – a nod to Julien Frisch who also notices something strange about the name of DialogueTV]

The European political groups with a web ‘TV’ platform are:

Groups with a YouTube video channel and usually some sort of video archive:

Of course, there is also EuroparlTV. Any other video sites that we’re missing?

February 4, 2009 at 11:56 am 1 comment

EUtube watch continues

It’s been five days and we almost missed the new fun EU Tube video. While it’s no Chemical Party or Romanticism in European Films, it is a well done clip. The challenge this time again is to identify all the film references. Resident film expert Rob completed this task in about 15 seconds… scroll down for his answers.

Also, it’s starting to become pathetic how eagerly I look forward to the next EU Tube video. It’s like a child waiting for Harry Potter, or some of my colleagues searching for Twilight books online.

Film references:

  • Forest Gump
  • Titanic
  • Sixth Sense
  • Harry Potter
  • Wizard of Oz
  • Lord of the Rings
  • Godfather part 1
  • Matrix

January 28, 2009 at 6:38 pm 4 comments

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A blog on politics, policy, public affairs and communications in Brussels and the European Union. The blog is written by the team at Fleishman-Hillard in Brussels. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect those of the company or its clients. You will find the contact details of our team at

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