EU goes on Facebook
Nowadays social media are one of the main resources of information and means of communication. Many people use them every day to exchange information, to get connected and as tools in their jobs. As a result EU, understanding the possibilities social media are offering, is launching EU’s news on social media. Those media, ever since their existence, are used for many different uses. They were used for promoting ideas and for bringing people with common interests closer, they are used for reach in the job market and for shopping, they were thought to be a powerful tool in the hands of the people during the Arab Spring. The potentials that digital media offer in our lives are many and can help to the collaboration and effective communication of the EU citizens with the EU institutions.
Social media for the institutions
An important role of the social media is the information exchange. Therefore the European Union institutions have changed this concept into ‘public awareness’. All the EU institutions are nowadays using their own social media accounts in order to inform the EU citizens across Europe about official announcements, press releases, new campaigns etc. The EU citizens can use the social media in order to get informed or to ask for more information, to take part in online public campaigns or surveys, competitions etc. On this e-address you can find all the Facebook accounts of the EU institutions, bodies, agencies and upon different topics but always in accordance with the EU policies: http://europa.eu/contact/take-part/facebook/index_en.htm
Social media for the people
There are many EU citizens that are totally unaware of what potentials they have been given by the European Union. The use of social media is a mean to eliminate the number of the people who don’t know and who are not connected to the rest of the European Union. By using social media EU DGs believe that they will push EU citizens to share their own stories and create smaller or bigger networks that will allow them to communicate across Europe. Therefore there are some projects that have been created in order to help to that way. In the following paragraphs you can see some examples of champagnes that have been made towards this aim:
One of the most popular one is the RegioStars Awards, where beneficiaries can show how they used the EU findings in their region in order to develop it or to provide solutions to existing problems. The objective of the campaign is to allow people from all across Europe to share good practices and innovations that have been done in their regions and to communicate with other regions that would probably be interested in using the knowledge of the ones that have already made the first steps in a new project.
Another digital media competition was the ‘Europe in My Region’, which was organized for the second time in 2013. In this competition any interested EU citizen had to take a picture of an EU’s project that was build or created in their region and to post it on the Facebook competition with a small text. Though the participation to this campaign the citizens went closer to the projects that EU has brought to their region and participated actively in the process that followed the photo competition, that was to get to know projects that had been done in other regions across Europe. In this case social media were used in order to boost citizen’s cohesion.
Social Media for the elections
As history has proven, social media are a powerful tool even for the elections. In 2012 the social media were a major factors that lead to the electing results of the US electoral campaign. The use of digital media for presidential elections was an innovation that had never happened before. The European Union has estimated the results that social media can possibly have upon the elections and is using the social media in their election campaign for this year. The campaign launched by the European Parliament with the motto “Act. React. Impact.” Is thought to be a big innovation to the electoral campaigns so far and a useful tool to motivate as many EU citizens as possible to participate in the European Parliament elections?
The fact is that not so many people are following the EU institutions on the social media. The question is whether the EU citizens are not used in using the social media for getting informed about their actions of the EU institutions or the EU institutions should try to make their social media profiles more attractive to the citizens. Whatever the answer is to this questions the use of social media by the EU institutions brings the EU institutions closer to the citizens of Europe and creates a bridge between them.
The EU shows the way to all its member-states to use social media in their everyday life and in professional level in order to bring people together and let them share their good practices, experiences and ideas. All the EU citizens have the possibility to get informed and interact with the European Union easily and to get connected with other EU citizens. Those are the offers that new technologies have to offer in the field of active citizenship. Hopefully the new media can bring us closer to each other and all together to the European Union.