Couple of weeks ago- two or three- I became a part of the Web Communication Unit of the European Parliament as I started my traineeship over here. Before my arrival everybody back home was asking me that kind of questions you can't really answer:
- “How come you have been selected for this traineeship? Was it difficult?”
- ”Honestly? No clue….”
Then, there were people who were making fun of me:
- “What are you going to do?”
- “Hmm… well, my supervisor wrote me that I'll work on updates of the EP website, Facebook, Twitter pages, and so on…”
- “Facebook? (Twitter is not so popular in Slovakia, so far) You are gonna be paid for being on Facebook the whole day? LOL!”
I didn't know what to say and how to defend my “super-cool-sounded” traineeship, 'cause I myself didn't know what to expect. From my former experience with other EU institutions I was a bit worried. It was particularly the European Commission I found really sensitive to all kinds of controversy and suggestions for improvements. After my study visit I had the impression that they don't want you to think. I was positive that their credo must be: don't be critical, keep your thoughts to yourself; WE need you only to listen to what WE have to say!
BUT it all changed!
After initial “who we are and what we do” presentations of the unit I realised I am probably sitting at one of the best spots of the “Brussels bubble” (trendy way of referring to the EU these days).
I have met so many open-minded, natural people who are constantly coming up with amazing projects. Here the "get closer to the EU citizen" slogan is not just a drivel. The EP and especially Web Comm. really mean it.
The EP website is covering everything that might be in the EU public's interest in very easy language so even our grandmas could get it (allegedly, each one of us has got a Latvian grandma, too :)). I love the frequency of infographics Nadina is talking about here.
Though, there is, of course, a tricky part. You are not about to find any juicy stories on the MEPs or particular member states. Why? Some of them would for sure attract the attention of millions of people…
Well, it's because of their political sensitiveness and because the EP news should be impartial. If this means the lack of the hot, sexy topics is it bad? We can see what is infotainment doing to national media. Do we need that in the EP, as well?
Though, I agree that the EU is sometimes taking itself too seriously, I think I understand. We aren't here to write about the EP, we are actually the EP writing about what we do for every European citizen, no matter whether he/she is from Poland or Spain, the rightist or the leftist.
The citizens have so many ways to reach the EP and their MEPs they could have the feeling that the EP is popping up at them everywhere. I feel a bit embarrassed that the EP has the accounts on much more social media than I do… I haven't even heard about some networks yet. Does that mean that the EP is so cool, or that I'm so lame? :D Either way, I think it's amazing!
However, you still notice some tax payers don't like this tremendous progress and all they care about is how much did we spend on the (according to them) nonsense like this. Let's face it – there is ALWAYS gonna be someone with this attitude.
To sum it up, I love being here and I am looking forward to upcoming months! :)