How do MEPs use the web? FH’s 2nd European Parliament Digital Trends Survey

Our survey of the digital habits of Members of the European Parliament is now live at

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:

  1. 69% of MEPs use social networks whereas previously only 33% used social networks extensively.
  2. 29% write a personal blog, compared to 40% in 2009.
  3. 34% are on Twitter, up from 21%.
  4. 57% of Twitter users say the greatest benefit is ‘expressing views directly’ while only 28% chose ‘engaging with people through dialogue’.
  5. 30% of those who blog and 33% who tweet use two or more languages (English being the predominant second language).
  6. 99% use search engines every week, 93% every day.
  7. 80% are looking for simple summaries of issues when searching online.
  8. 78% think specific issue websites are important when informing their opinion on policy, more than the organisation sites.
  9. 90% name coverage in national media as an important source of information, 51% of those very important.
  10. 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.



“Digital is for PR, not for PA” – three reasons why it ain’t so « Steffen Moller
July 14, 2011 | 3:35 PM

[...] of reasons. However, policy-makers and others who matter, no matter how niche an issue is, still use the web to conduct research. So content and search are always [...]

January 28, 2011 | 3:43 PM

Thanks for your comment Matt. Yes, I agree MEPs are not yet making the most of Twitter. There's a definite correlation between the fact that they don't value it as much as other channels and the fact that they mainly use it as a broadcast medium. 140 characters is hardly enough for good quality broadcasting, although plenty for good back and forth. I'm optimistic though - at least they're starting out - hopefully in time they'll make better us of it. Steffen Paperless underclass exposes dark side of Europe – Euro roundup | Erkan's Field Diary
January 28, 2011 | 1:54 PM

[...] How do MEPs use the web? FH’s 2nd European Parliament Digital Trends Survey from Public Affairs 2.0 by fhbrussels [...]

matt butterworth
January 26, 2011 | 6:13 PM

Matt Butterworth • The growing trend shows that Twitter is becoming accepted within political circles. However the fear factor is decreasing and this shows that finally politicians are willing to accept that they cannot control all aspects of lobbying. Its ok using twitter to express views directly but they must also be willing to actively embrace and be part of the conversation and dialogue. Social media & twitter is not just a broadcast channel to send messages, it should be used to understand views and actively engage with its audience. Its no surprise that Green MEP's are more enthusiastic, what is surprising is the rich media social content not being seen as effective, based on other articles and President Obama using this channel very effectively, clearly MEP's have some work to do!!!

January 26, 2011 | 4:30 PM

Hi Steffen, Interesting read! Curious - do you/did you also check via which platforms MEPs (and their staffers) use social media? I.e. percentage accessing it through mobile, tablets etc? Cheers Emil

January 27, 2011 | 4:04 PM

Hi Emil, No we didn't ask about platforms. Didn't want to overload with questions and was more interested at first to understand what channels they use and how trends in accessing information are developing. Will likely be part of the next survey! Steffen

Tweets that mention How do MEPs use the web? FH’s 2nd European Parliament Digital Trends Survey « Public Affairs 2.0 --
January 26, 2011 | 3:56 PM

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by FHbrussels, Steffen Moller, Antti Timonen, Rosalyn Horswell, François Martins and others. François Martins said: RT @Eurotwittering: How do MEPs use the web? FH’s 2nd European Parliament Digital Trends Survey: [...]