The Week in Bloggingportal: Mr Berlusconi, tear down this Twitter wall!
European Council meetings are boring events: A group of 30 rather old and mostly male people – including Silvio Berlusconi – meet secretly. They decide about our future(s) behind closed doors. Later they talk to a bunch of international journalists who have been waiting all day just to ask one or two boring questions that are answered with diplomatic nonsense. Then everybody leaves and we citizens are supposed to accept what has been happening.
Thanks to the Council press team, this week was different. With the help of Twitter, they have saved the European Council for us citizens.
A public Twitter wall they installed in the main hall of the Council building in Brussels showed tweets with the #EUCO hashtag (invented in this tweet for the last European Council in October). And then a great story started with a tweet by Bloggingportal.eu co-editor Jon Worth asking his Italian followers to comment on Berlusconi – here is how Jon tells the story.
Very quickly, the Twitter wall was captured by anti-Berlusconi statements, making the press team shut down the wall not to embarrass the diplomats who are only used to insult each other in camera. But too late – the story went big and became news all around the world.
The public, for the first time, was not only allowed to enter the Council and make itself heard inside the building, but this public also became heard outside the Council. And the #EUCO hashtag became known to an international audience.
The euroblogosphere and the eurotwittersphere covered the matter in extensio: Jon told the lessons we can learn from this “affair”. Techcrunch ran the story. Mathew was a little afraid that this would poison the well for the use of social media by the EU. And Eurogoblin and State under Construction followed the international reactions on this great moment of EU-level citizens involvement.
Yet, despite this buzz, there were also complaints about the European Council President’s use of Twitter. And there was much more that happened in the EU blogosphere in the past week.
Eurobloggers also covered other aspects of the “Summitt of Egoism“, a European Council that started with a triple no and ended with “a dirty stitch-up” and even non-Euro countries like Poland to agree to the crisis mechanism to show its positive role in Europe ahead of their Council Presidency in the second half of 2011.
Other issues on the agenda of this week were, again, why Wikileaks isn’t that impressive but also why its EU sister “Brussels Leaks” could become either a very interesting platform or why it could in the end do more harm than good.
And there was even more: On the fun side, some were hacking European energy data. On the gender equality side, some were noticing that Catherine Ashton is incapable of getting more than one or two women into the leadership of the EU’s diplomatic service.
On the EU geeky side, some took due note of a compromise on the future EU comitology system. On the speculative side, some were expecting the end of the ECR Group in the European Parliament. And on the more reflective side, some were sharing thoughts on the soon-to-be-implemented European Citizens’ Initiative.
Oh, and don’t forget that Bloggingportal.eu editors have been to London, Cordoba and Brussels over the last week to talk about euroblogging and EU social media use with quite different audiences. Reports and reflections on the meetings have been published here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here or here.
Altogether, this was a very fruitful Week in Bloggingportal, a week in which EU social media discussions have moved to a new level, hopefully making the use of social media in EU matters better in the future.