Posts tagged ‘Social media’

FH Podcast: Journalists & Digital #4 – Ian Wishart of the European Voice

Continuing our occasional series on how Brussels journalists use social media, today we feature an interview with Ian Wishart of the European Voice. Ian talks about how – as a new arrival in Brussels – Twitter helped him navigate the Brussels maze. He also muses on the potential for better Twitter performances from the Brussels power brokers.

Click here to listen to this edition of the podcast.*

Click here to subscribe to the FH Europe podcast on iTunes.

* If using Internet Explorer, you may have to right-click on the link and save target as, then play the saved file by double clicking it.

In case you missed it, here’s the Storify page and the web page of the recent seminar held by the Council on “The Impact of Social Media on Journalism”. Outside of the Brussels bubble, here’s an interesting analysis in writing and film from the BBC of how social media had changed its newsroom.


October 27, 2011 at 6:34 pm Leave a comment

FH Podcast: Journalists & Digital #3

This is the third in our series of podcasts about Journalists and Digital (see the first and second) and as the interview is between two French speakers (apologies non French speakers), we will continue en français…

Dans la série de nos podcasts sur le thème de l’utilisation d’Internet par les journalistes, voici notre première interview en français ! Dans le podcast ci-dessous, Laurence discute avec Jean-Sébastien Lefebvre, journaliste spécialisé Europe à (NB : au moment de l’interview il ne travaillait pas encore pour Euractiv). Il nous parle d’abord des raisons pour lesquelles il blogue, de l’espace de liberté que ça lui apporte et de comment, en tant que journaliste, il traite le contenu d’autres blogs. Il nous parle aussi de la manière dont il utilise Twitter dans son travail. S’il hésite encore à citer des tweets (ou des blogs) dans ses articles journalistiques, il utilise Twitter pour être tenu au courant au plus vite des dernières nouvelles et poser des questions aux spécialistes qui se trouvent sur ce réseau.

Allez voir son excellent (et distrayant) blog, L’expérience européene et suivez le ici sur Twitter.

Cliquez ici pour écouter ce nouvel épisode de notre série de podcasts.

Cliquez ici pour vous abonner au FH Europe podcast sur iTunes.


(If using Internet Explorer, you may have to right-click on the link and save target as then play that file by double clicking it)

May 31, 2011 at 1:29 pm Leave a comment

FH Podcast: Journalists & Digital #2

After such a positive response to our last podcast  we continue our series on how digital tools are shaping and influencing journalism. This week we are joined by Dave Keating from ENDS Europe, a leading environmental policy news source which covers European environmental climate and energy developments in detail.

He chats to Anita about the increasingly integral role of digital in journalism, resistance form editors on social media initiatives, and his time as Mayor of the Commission!

Dave’s blog Gulf Stream Blues is widely read throughout Brussels, a brilliant commentary on Europe from an American perspective . You can follow Dave on twitter @davekeating.

Click here to listen to this edition of the podcast.

Click here to subscribe to the FH Europe podcast on iTunes.

(If using Internet Explorer, you may have to right-click on the link and save target as then play that file by double clicking it)


May 13, 2011 at 3:19 pm 1 comment

FH Podcast: Kroes and digital – interview with Ryan Heath

In our latest podcast, I have a chat with Ryan Heath, speechwriter and social media manager for European Commission Vice President and Commissioner for Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes. In an impressively varied and accomplished career so far, Ryan has been Assistant Director at the UK Cabinet Office, political adviser to former Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has written for publications such as the Sydney Morning Herald, and published a book on Generation Y, as well as editing The Gay Marriage Blog.

Ryan and Neelie’s approach to social media is spot on, and in stark contrast to the majority of political actors in Brussels who just can’t get past using online channels as just another way to blurt out one-way messages. Instead, they seek to be better at their jobs through social media, by gathering better intelligence and building relationships with the people who provide it (a cue to Public Affairs professionals if ever there was one.)

As ever, keen to hear your thoughts, so please comment away.

Listen to the podcast.

Click here to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.


March 8, 2011 at 5:40 pm 2 comments

A Social Media Butterfly: an event for your calendars

Dear readers,

Before you head home for Christmas take a moment to put this date in your diaries. On 12th January at 1530 in the European Parliament the pleasantly named Butterfly Europe is holding an event. The Italian web magazine turned ‘social think-tank’, Lo Spazio Della Politica and GliEuros are joining together to invite EU decision makers, functionaires and consultants for a roundtable discussion on social networks and social media.

What distinguishes this event is the calibre of speakers: not only do they have some of the most digitally savvy MEPs around; Alexander Alvaro, Gianni Pittella, Maritje Schaake and Marie-Christine Vergiat, they also have the people involved in getting the institutions online and active in the social media sphere on board. For the European Parliament this is Stephen Clark and from the Commission Antonia Mochan. The consultancy world is also given a voice, with representatives from multiple agencies; not least FH Brussels’ own Steffen Thejll-Moller .

There will be two main roundtables followed by open debate. The first roundtable will centre on social networks; and the second on online media. It should be an interesting look at the characteristics of ‘a new journalism style’ that is, online and participative, something which you will be hearing more from us in the future. As the final session is on EU public opinion it is appropriately going to be open debate.

In preparation for the event, Butterfly Europe has interviewed Steffen on ‘Making digital tools your comms strategy’. He addresses the reasoning behind our blog, becoming an online resource for decision makers and journalists, as well as our upcoming study on EP digital trends which will be released at the event.

So that’s it for now and remember: 12th January. Register here.


December 20, 2010 at 10:00 am Leave a comment

The Highlights – “Social media: what works & and what doesn’t?” from the European Public Affairs Action Day

So Thursday was the long awaited European Public Affairs Action Day, organised by the Parliament Magazine, and of course it was every bit as good as it promised to be. We hosted a workshop entitled ‘Social Media: what works what doesn’t’? We aimed at having a range of perspectives in our panel to get a good picture of how social media is being developed in different areas, from industry to national and then European politics.

Michael Adolph from FH started off with some of the inspiring work they do in Washington and highlighted that good quality content which shows real personal enthusiasm for the subject matter is most likely to resonate with audiences. He showcased a video for Johns Hopkins University’s Malaria Free Future campaign, which demonstrates how a fresh approach to traditional funding applications with creative visuals and a proactive online outreach can make a practical difference to malaria sufferers.

He was then followed by Samuel Coates from the UK Conservative Party. He gave very straightforward advice: don’t just believe the hype but find out who your audience is and reach out to them. Try to build a relationship rather than just following the latest social media trend and using those media channels like you would a foghorn.

Finally, we rounded off with another perspective, that of Ryan Heath who, as a member of Neelie Kroes’ social media team, has the opportunity to experience firsthand the way social media is shaping the government/citizen conversation.  Definitely the most eye opening quote of the day comes from our dynamic Australian who said that on Neelie Kroes’ website ‘a single average blog post gets as many views as all of her 2010 press releases combined’ – a clear sign that the more immediate and personal nature of a blog post resonates with audiences.

Yes a good time was had and it was great to see so many industry leaders there. We videoed the panel and have a few snippets from the audience coming soon so watch this space…


December 13, 2010 at 7:33 pm Leave a comment

“Social media: what works & what doesn’t?” – FH workshop at the Public Affairs Action Day

We’re hosting a workshop as part of the Parliament Magazine’s Public Affairs Action Day (9 December at 11.45 in Brussels). It’s simply entitled “Social media – what works and what doesn’t?” and will look at addressing some of the following concerns:

  • Am I not exposing myself to needless criticism?
  • How can I really measure its effectiveness?
  • Will I be able to control the discussion on line?
  • Brussels is a tiny community. Can’t I just pick up the phone or meet people
    face to face?

We prefer to look at social media as an opportunity rather than a threat, so plenty of onus will be on the opportunities on offer to politicians, businesses, civil society and citizens to engage as equals, and how this is being reflected in the “real world” with examples from Brussels, the US and UK.  Our panel will feature a political communicator from FH in Washington DC, Head of Social Media for the Conservatives in the UK, and a Commission Official responsible for social media.

If you fancy coming, you can still register here for our session as well as the rest of the day’s festivities. If not, watch this space, as we’ll be posting some video footage from the event including highlights from the panel discussion and some snippets from attendees willing to speak up!

Steffen and Rosalyn

December 2, 2010 at 12:55 pm Leave a comment

You don’t ‘get’ social media? Just open your ears and listen…

It is very easy to tell how many followers we have on Twitter but have you ever wondered why people are using social media? Why people are reading your blog? What kind of information they are looking for? If the answer is “no”, you should definitely start listening to the users, their answers will give meaning to the numbers.

A social media user is a treasure of information, you just have to try to understand them. Once you do, you will come out with great ideas on how to interact with them even better than you do now and on their side, they will feel satisfied by the ear you give them by listening to them… and the circle is closed.

Check out the very interesting blog post from Mack Collier on ‘Experiencing Social Media vs Monitoring It’.


May 12, 2010 at 10:55 am 1 comment

Dutch Disease

Have you ever heard of a condition called infobesitas? It is an addiction to information due to the many drugs out there: internet, mobile phones, television and radio. According to youth trend watching/communications company YoungWorks in the Netherlands they are not addicted out of boredom or out of sincere interest to know things. Teenagers/youngsters/adolescents (or how do we call them these days? People like me who are wondering are definitely no longer in that category) are actually afraid to miss out on any news or information updates and are thus overwhelmed with information. Some sort of peer pressure to be aware and be able to chat about it – both in person and online (many parents probably won’t oppose to a kind of need-to-know peer pressure for their kids throughout high school and university). Symptoms? It negatively influences their ability to concentrate and to sleep. Whilst they are very active in retrieving news and at social network sites, they now appear to be less able to multitask when compared to adults. These general conclusions on the state of mind of our youth are all very nice, but what do the addicts think themselves? YoungWorks has a short video in its March 2010 Alert (sorry folks, it’s in Dutch) containing some nice Dutch architecture. And just for the record, while the Dutch media picked up on this new phenomenon from YoungWorks, the agency admits that the term originates from a US blogger… According to its YoungWorks Trendport Top 10, Infobesitas is said to become the 2010 buzzword (If we are indeed faced with an epidemic this year just imagine politicians and policymakers arguing on labelling and GDA levels (Guideline Daily Amounts)…

However, this latest Dutch disease could actually help cure another condition; the lack of registered donors to save lives. How? Well, this urge to ‘be out there’ connecting and communicating to people and absorbing information has, amongst other issues, led to the success of national social network sites such as Hyves. Hyves is derived from ‘hive’, a bee’s nest and “a place swarming with activity.”’ To hive is to store and collect. In a relatively small and densely populated country as the Netherlands, with just around 16.6 million inhabitants, there are over 10 million Hyves accounts.

Again, how can it help save lives? Earlier this month, the Dutch national news picked up on the possibility to become a registered organ donor through Hyves. There is a severe lack of registered donors in the Netherlands, resulting in long waiting lists and people dying in absence of a suitable donor. Since 12 April, all users of Hyves have seen a question popping up on their Hyves page: ‘If you could save a life, would you? Yes or No?’ Through this action, Hyves is supporting the Yes/No campaign of the Dutch transplant foundation (Nederlandse Transplantatie Stichting). If one decides to become a registered donor, this will appear on your Hyves profile page. This is said to be the first time Hyves changes the standard user profile for a good cause since it was founded in 2004.

Such a positive spin on the potential of social media networks even makes its sceptics soft. For instance, it convinced the blogging virgin that I am to share these trends and developments through the World Wide Web and with people I do not necessarily know. The next step is considering registering as a potential donor. Mmmmh…mission accomplished?

Esther (for those of you who wondered, yes, I am a Dutch citizen of the world)

April 22, 2010 at 11:19 am 2 comments

From Rome to Tehran: democracy goes online

In one of our last posts we helped you understanding the apparently complicated Italian political scenario (we hope we succeeded). Now, your burning passion for the Peninsula’s politics will find other tools to better follow what happens in the ‘boot’.

A brand new web site to track down Italian MPs’ activities in the national parliament was launched yesterday. The web site has been created by a non-profit organization (Openopolis) which already launched in the past two initiatives, one to identify your political positioning by answering a set of questions on different topics and the other one to provide a wide range of information on politicians.

The new portal will help discovering, for example, that MP Antonio Caglione (Partito Democratico), is at the bottom of the attendance rate list (only 11.33% of sessions attended) and Furio Colombo (PD again) is the most rebellious MP, voting 394 times against the indications of his party. Berlusconi’s MPs are the most reliable in terms of presence and 16 of them are above the 99% threshold.

As you know this is not the first tool of this kind that was launched in a European country and it just show how the Internet is becoming an increasingly used tool by both politicians – FH digital survey docet – and voters or the society as a whole, all over Europe. People need and want the information that traditional media is not able to provide: a few minutes after the launch of the web site, visitors started receiving messages saying that the server was slowed down because of the massive traffic.

Digital democracy or e-democracy is not the future anymore, it is the present. An example? The protests in Tehran: with the government obscuring the telecom network, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube compensate the spread out of information and someone already defined this ‘ the first digital revolution’.


June 17, 2009 at 3:12 pm Leave a comment

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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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