Friday 23 July 2010

Eurobloggers: EU or policy specialists?

Our Summer cruise in the Euroblogosphere has taken us to eight destinations, resulting in as many blog entries, but the tour is far from over.

The lack of specialists in EU-oriented blogs is impeding the development of the European online public space, wrote European online communications expert Mathew Lowry.

Waggener Edstrom and Fleishman-Hillard had noted what can be summed up as the lack of influential sector-specific policy bloggers, leading Lowry to explicate that all Eurobloggers are experts, but their specialisation is the EU, with dire results:

Which makes us a tiny, hyperspecialised bubble, talking about EU arcana noone else understands - and, increasingly, talking about ourselves. With barely any bridges connecting us to other online conversations.

According to Lowry, it’s up to the Brussels Bubble to build those bridges outwards if we want to create a European online public space, and if that’s what we want, then these connections are going to be built on specialist subjects.


Let us stop here for a while. I have recently tried to argue how the EU is an unfinished project, drifting without an agreed “manifest destiny”.

Fundamental choices (telos), the structure, politics and (mal)functioning of the European Union, even the Euroblogosphere are in need of constant discussion.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, the early medieval monasteries kept some sort of learning and culture alive.

Today, almost any effort to describe and to evaluate the EU conscientiously and independently is a cultural achievement in a sea of ignorance.

Few of us would be content with medieval standards of learning, but we do not have to discard the nave of the wheel in order to create the spokes.

In my view, EU specialists and policy specialists are complementary, not mutually exclusive.

Actually, any serious policy blogger on EU affairs needs to know the difference between the Commission and the Parliament, President Herman van Rompuy and the rotating Presidency, and much more.

The rapidly growing Euroblogosphere will, in my view, supply a part of the demand for policy area and issue specialists:

In a natural way, growth leads to coverage of more policy areas and variety of views being expressed, including national angles on EU issues.

What more is needed? Let us play the Advocate (advocates diaboli or advocatus Dei) to the Tagsmanian Devil in a future post.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Multilingual comment policy: In order to facilitate interaction in the Euroblogosphere, feel free to comment in Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish or Swedish, even if the Grahnlaw blog and my possible replies are in English.


  1. Hi Ralf, and thanks for your post.

    re: "we do not have to discard the nave of the wheel in order to create the spokes.".

    It's an excellent metaphor, but it's not what I was saying. As I clarified yesterday lunchtime (my emphases): "I never suggested that everyone should immediately switch to blogging about food safety. In an ecosystem, there’ll be a variety of bloggers. What I’ve noticed is that in this ecosystem the specialists are absent, which I see as a sign of its immaturity and as a handicap to building bridges.

    So I totally agree that, as you conclude, "EU specialists and policy specialists are complementary, not mutually exclusive".

    Except for one problem: the specialists are absent. Hence my post.

  2. Mathew,

    I believe we are pretty much in agreement, although I haven't written the post on subject/policy/issue specialist blogging yet.


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