Friday, 4 December 2009

Eurosphere, Euroblog Meet-up and Bloggingportal.eu

Here are some thoughts about the Eurosphere (European public space) after the Euroblog Meet-up initiated by Joe Litobarski, leading to some suggestions concerning limited, but concrete action to improve Bloggingportal.eu by attracting new blogs with a European perspective.


Afterthoughts

Reading this the morning after, the Google Wave discussion got started when I was already at sleep.

I think there were some good ideas, which can grow into something. Nosemonkey's suitably realistic thoughts are a counterweight to pie in the sky.

Social get-togethers between eurobloggers, through Wave, Twitter, Skype and face to face are all good to promote a sense of community.

Small, but concrete

With regard to practical work and possible achievements, I wonder if it wouldn't be a good idea to do something limited and concrete, rather than create new systems. (These will appear, if the euroblogosphere becomes bigger and more dynamic.)

"Keep it simple, stupid!" tells me that Bloggingportal.eu already exists, and that there is room for new blogs from the EU member states.

Since the idea behind Bloggingportal.eu is to promote discussion on EU themes, or with a European dimension, one natural ally would be to ask the European organisations (Young Federalists, European Movement) to spread the word:

They may have more official blogs, but there are also bloggers among their activists and members.

In my view, these are natural links between national and pan-EU debates on European issues.


***


There is nothing wrong in presenting and discussing the EU institutions:

First of all, I'm guilty as charged, and there are considerable numbers of students engaged in various EU studies (politics, law, economics, communication).

Secondly, the general lack of knowledge about how the European Union is set up and how it works is astounding. (Otherwise the anti-EU part of British media would never get away with their distortions, and the comments sections would not look like crude caricatures of war time propaganda.)

But there are European aspects to practically every area of life, and almost all national level organisations have someone who is engaged with EU level questions or EU projects.

The list is almost endless: Sports, culture, education, business, women...
EU structural funds, agriculture (CAP), fisheries, research, student exchange (Erasmus)...


***


Languages: Someone wrote that all these discussions lead to the issue of languages. Why make it into a problem? Bloggingportal.eu already is multilingual.

(By the way, the greatest unrecognised language in the EU is Russian [not unimportant outside, either]. Could it be added?)

The bloggers themselves are free to choose. Some want to discuss in English (or one of the more widely spoken languages), others in their mother tongue.

I think it's a great system, offering freedom of choice.

If Bloggingportal.eu manages to attract more bloggers, in various languages, the readers have the opportunity to read blogs in other languages, too, which means crossing borders mentally.

Many times more people are able to read one or more foreign languages, than are able to write for publication.

There are also about 10 million intra-EU expats, who live in cross-border situations culturally.

Even if there are expat forums, which are country-specific, I think there would be room for bloggers who specialise in EU level issues related to living in another member state.

More generally, when comparing the host of EU Council meetings these last days and the serious under-reporting in national media (except for a few headline-grabbing dramas) and in blogs, I find that there is an awful lot of room for blogs with some sort of focus on a certain policy area, or even an aspect of one.


Questions and suggestions

1. Should Bloggingportal.eu do something to attract more bloggers, from different EU member states?

2. If so, what can be done?

3. If something can be done: How?




Ralf Grahn