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Four gurus and six ideas to improve our web presence

With some other colleagues dealing with social media and the Parliament web presence, we went for a two-days trip to Paris to meet some geeks. Or, to be more precise, to meet web experts, public institutions webteams and web-journalists. A highly valuable school trip which gave some ideas about how we could further improve the Parliament web presence. Here are the six concrete ideas I'd like to remember and share with you.


From Nicolas Princen, head of the web unit of the French Presidency

A company called Viewrz helped the French Presidency to tweet live some extracts of the video stream of the G20 meeting in Cannes. The principle is quite easy: you follow a debate, and whenever you find an extract interesting, you instantaneously send a message to the company, which will cut the last 30 seconds (or 20 seconds, one minute… this has to be decided in advance) of the video and send you a specific link to this short video. Then you just have to tweet it.

=> It would be great to use this kind of tool to cover our plenary debates. It's resource efficient (we need only one or two editors) and the format is nicer than a traditional coverage: you have a live tweet (for example one quote for each political group) and right after the debate you put it online as an article (in a kind of a Storify format). You can skip the boring/technical/empty parts of the debate and focus on the main political statements.

From TBWA 365, web agency

It was very interesting to have a look into the way of working and the logic of a private company, and I noted two things:

  • They always start the briefings with their customers with a "cold", data-oriented analysis. It allows to assess the efficiency of a campaign/online strategy.
    => Maybe we should try to objectivise the efficiency of our actions in such a way. We do it but it could and should be more systematic: what were the most popular articles on the Parliament website this month? What worked on Facebook, what was the most retweeted? We need an analyst who does not work as an editor – and thus could be impartial. We could gather good practices and improve the efficiency of our coverage.
  • TBWA advises to look for editorial partnerships rather than advertising campaigns. In 2014, the Parliament could write objective, neutral stories about the mandate and the upcoming elections and propose it to big newspapers. I know that journalists don't like it, but it seems newspapers do accept it for (obvious) economic reasons…

La Netscouade, web agency

Benoît Thieulin, CEO of this agency that is well-known for its involvement in the French presidential election campaign in 2007, shared his vision of the future of the web. A highly interesting speech from which I'd like to keep only the concrete points:

  • The web is now coming back to more "intermédiation". In the last years, the trend was to try to communicate directly with citizens, but now people want to get some analysis. Hence the central role of journalists, bloggers etc. There is more space for indirect communication and we should not (only) aim at targeting citizens directly.

=> All our multimedia products (for example this one or this one) should clearly made available and customisable by internet users and journalists.

=> Our Facebook and Twitter content should be more "MEP-compatible" so that it can be re-used as much as possible.

  • He also pointed out the "social television", i.e. the fact that people watch TV to get the news but comment at the same time on Twitter with their tablets.
    => This raise again the question of putting a twitter feed next to the plenary streaming to allow people to comment live.

Slate.fr, web newspaper

The editor in chief explained us how they explained complex issues in an easy, friendly and funny way. For example, for the scandal around French billionaire Ingrid Bettencourt, they put it in the form of a – fake – Facebook stream. It's really worth having a look!

=> Worth trying in order to explain the negotiations on the EU budget or the financial supervision package?


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