From social media to social activation in the EU
“The digital economy is growing at seven times the rate of the rest of the economy”; this statement comes from the EU’s Digital Agenda for Europe (DAE). The DAE aims to “reboot Europe's economy and help Europe's citizens and businesses to get the most out of digital technologies.
But how about European institutions and their use of social media tools? Do they see social media as traditional media they can use to broadcast key messages? Are they weaving social media tools and interactions into their everyday, global operations? In the context of increasing euroscepticism, can social media contribute towards bringing Europe closer to all citizens? Indeed, given that “the power of social activation is unleashed when others advocate an organization’s message in their own words to their network”, can European institutions leverage social media tools in a way that inspires EU citizens to advocate European institutions’ messages in their own words to their peer networks? The latter is particularly important in light of citizens’ increasing disillusionment with ‘traditional’ marketing messages.
To succeed in the years ahead, European institutions will most likely need the right balance of global reach and a local footprint. They will require heightened awareness of problems when they arise and the flexibility to quickly reconfigure their operations in response. Leading European institutions will innovate by collaborating among and with others. An increasing number of senior staff members now recognise that ‘social business’— the concept of using social media processes and methods inside traditional business models—offers a promise of progress across all of these dimensions. The European institutions are part of this evolution towards social business, a social media strategy that puts people at the heart of its operations—developing digital communities around important themes, drawing on the knowledge and skills of experts and engaging citizenry on the things that matter.
Inside magazine issue 6, October 2014
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