Parliament rolls out social MEP-edia

Legislators increasingly use social media tools. [Kris Olin/flickr]

Members of the European Parliament are using social media applications to ask their voters for questions they can submit to Commissioners-designate in the public hearings next week. MEPs hope their voters will help them choose the right ones.

The most social media-savvy turned out to be the liberals in the European Parliament. Their president, Guy Verhofstadt launched “#AskTeamJuncker” campaign on the social network Twitter yesterday (25 September). Seven other liberal MEPs from different countries joined the campaign to reach out to people, and their number is increasing.

They are asking all online users to spell out their concerns. However, not all the collected questions will be addressed during the interviews. The MEPs will make a selection of the issues that received the most attention. So far, online followers raised questions about climate and energy policies, youth unemployment or transparency in the EU’s decision-making. 

Twitter is not the only social media tool used by the MEPs. Julia Reda, a German member of the European Greens, launched “What would you ask?” website where she is asking her voters “if you had the chance, what would you ask the Commissioners responsible for internet policy?”.

MEP Reda received more than a dozen questions on her website. Apart from asking for their suggestions, site visitors can also vote for question they mostly agree with.

Parliament’s press service also turns to social media

Meanwhile, the press service of the European Parliament has announced Thursday (25 September) that it will no longer make public the outcomes of the hearings through written press releases. Instead, all the communication will happen solely through the social media networks.

It intends to use Twitter for live updates throughout the hearings, and Storify, which includes a collection of statements, short news bites and articles, once the hearings are over.

The European Parliament’s move to social media started in 2010, when it organized a training course for MEPs to encourage the use of web 2.0 applications to communicate and interact with EU citizens.

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