European Parliament uses social networks to promote elections

The Eurovision Song Contest was last night but, Eurovoting and Eurovisual fans, you can still get your entertainment fix. (You’ll have to bring your own music though):

From The Register:

The European Parliament is treading bravely into the world of social networking in order to get the kids involved in the exciting world of European politics.

Bureaucrats have created profiles on popular social sites including Facebook, MySpace and photo sharing site Flickr. There will also be ad-word campaigns and banner ads on MySpace.

Elections run from 4 to 7 June, and the primary purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness of those dates as well as improving young people’s understanding of the European Parliament and the work of MEPs.

A YouTube channel has also been created.

The YouTube channel includes a short series of videos called “At the polling station” – these major on the speed and ease of voting, rather than the purpose or politics of the European Parliament. Short and almost non-verbal, they seem to be aiming for viral appeal. The “screaming” one is a bit much, though.

On the other hand, anything featuring both pedals and polling stations gets my vote:

For parties and policies, you’ll need to look elsewhere. The European Parliament’s 2009 elections page has links to the different political groups (including ALDE – Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe).

The same page features an ongoing poll: “So far what is your favourite EP online tool?” No doubt as robust as any online poll of this type (D’Hondt, anyone?), Europarl’s MySpace and Flickr pages are currently trailing behind the 2009 elections page itself (though this could be self-fulfilling):
european-parliament-online-tools-poll
The European Parliament’s Twitter feed is not being promoted so far and it’s not clear whether this is an official account. At the time of writing, it only has 8 followers and 15 updates.

You can, however, follow the MEPs who are on Twitter, via Europatweets. It’s like the UK’s Tweetminster, but with added je ne sais quoi.

All entertaining stuff, but in the last European elections just 18% of people aged between 18-25 voted. Will the use of social networks have a significant effect on voter turnout, especially among young people?

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This entry was posted in Europe / International and Online politics.
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