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Steve Green (not verified) March 26, 2012

Social media have indeed changed the name of the game. But I think in a more fundamental way than you suggest. I don't think a change in skills and habit within the European Commission will be enough. The top down intensely legalistic culture within the EC will prevent any successful moves. Social media is about a two-way (or multi-way) conversation; it is not simply another one way communication channel. Trust in traditional politicians and political structures and processes are continuing to decline. Todays social media savvy are looking far more for engagement and influence and not simply waiting to be told what their "betters" have decided for them. ACTA is a good case. Quite simply what was good for big business (and hence with the support of the poltiical classes) was not seen as good for society and individuals. Policy formulation will need to change to include far greater acceptance. The Occupy movements, the Arab Spring revolutions, the anti-austerity campaigners have all shown the sharp end of a greater individualistic engagement with decisions.. rather than the expert led top down approach. In effect post Lisbon the EC now has the four way power split: EC, Council, Parliament and activist online public. Tjose member states who are top down, elitist and secretive in their own workings wil have significant difficulties adapting.
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Karen (not verified) March 27, 2012

There is a need for a change of culture in some institutions and departments more than a "framework". We don't need more rules, but less and the ones we have should be simple. But social media need to be incorporated into the overall communication strategies that are being made.
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Jovan Kurbalija March 28, 2012

Steve, I have a mixed experience with the EC. Apart from the communication style you described, I have had some more positive experiences. The Internet governance team (DG INFO) is quite engaged in offline/online discussion. During the EuroDIG Belgrade in may 2011, the DG INFO representative engaged in discussion with people from the Pirate Party in the plenary session attended by more than 500 people. It was almost unthinkable a few years ago to have EU's official doing anything beyond reading prepared text "on behalf of member states", etc. You can also follow DG INFO people on social media. They are "early birds". Let us hope that they will survive against institutional inertia and "status quo" instinct of bureaucratic machinery. Otherwise "Sir Humphrey" will become immortal.
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Jovan Kurbalija March 28, 2012

A change of culture will take time. Social media cannot be introduced top-down as a new policy/strategy. It needs a lot of "smart policy" with more carrots than sticks.

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