Our survey of the digital habits of Members of the European Parliament is now live at www.epdigitaltrends.eu.
The findings show that MEPs are increasingly using digital channels to reach out and to inform themselves on issues of importance. In parallel, the survey also indicates that personal contact and traditional media remain essential, highlighting to anyone engaging in communications that digital is not replacing established modes of communication, but living alongside them.
Here are ten key findings:
- 69% of MEPs use social networks whereas previously only 33% used social networks extensively.
- 29% write a personal blog, compared to 40% in 2009.
- 34% are on Twitter, up from 21%.
- 57% of Twitter users say the greatest benefit is ‘expressing views directly’ while only 28% chose ‘engaging with people through dialogue’.
- 30% of those who blog and 33% who tweet use two or more languages (English being the predominant second language).
- 99% use search engines every week, 93% every day.
- 80% are looking for simple summaries of issues when searching online.
- 78% think specific issue websites are important when informing their opinion on policy, more than the organisation sites.
- 90% name coverage in national media as an important source of information, 51% of those very important.
- 86% state that position papers from stakeholders are important, while personal contact with stakeholders is still the most important channel for interaction at 93%.
When we last conducted the survey, we were at a pivotal moment: digital in politics seemed to have gone mainstream following the French presidential campaign in 2007 and, in particular, Barack Obama’s successful campaign in 2007-08. Eighteen months on, given that enthusiasm from across the pond had abated and the European Parliament was no longer in election frenzy, we were being asked if 2009 had just been a blip. It’s great to have the figures to confirm that the trends we first detailed in 2009 have persisted, and that MEPs are increasingly connected.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be analysing a few of the findings in more detail e.g. the rise of Facebook vs. the fall in blogging. I hope many of you will be involved in the ensuing discussions, and please, fire away with comments and questions.
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November 4, 2022