Category Archives: USA

US government and politics

Can we measure social media’s impact on the European elections?

With three months still to go, people are already talking about the European elections on social media.  But will social media actually make a difference?  And, perhaps more importantly, can we get beyond speculation and measure the impact of social media on the 2014 European elections?

In this post, I’m going to take a brief look at three areas where I think social media could potentially have a quantifiable impact.

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Will 2014 be Europe’s Twitter election?

Obama four more years image from Twitter

Twitter was a major feature of the 2012 US Presidential elections, with a combined 14 million tweets during the Democratic and Republican Party Conventions and over 10 million tweets during the TV debate between the candidates in October 2012.

No less than three of the Brookings Institute’s Ten Communication Lessons from the 2012 Presidential Election relate to the game-changing impact of Twitter, including the democratization of political debate and commentary.  Pollster Stephen Mills commented in the Guardian during the campaign that “tweeters, not bloggers or pundits, will decide debate winners as politics shifts from a 24-hour news cycle to a 140-character one”.

So, will Twitter play a similar role during the 2014 European elections?

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Will digital media transform the European Union?

After returning to Brussels earlier this week, I’m back at work now and already finding plenty of opportunities to apply things I learned during my fellowship at the University of Washington.

E!Sharp magazine published an article I wrote about EU governance and policy-making, based on the research I did during the fellowship:  Will digital media transform the European Union?

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The benefits of open data

Where is the money going?

recovery.gov mapAs part of its response to the economic crisis, the US federal government approved the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – a stimulus package worth $787 billion (subsequently increased to $840 billion) – in February 2009.  The Act provides financing for tax cuts and benefits, “entitlement programs” (such as unemployment benefits) and federal contracts grants and loans.

But where exactly is the money going?  Continue reading

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How can we tell better stories about the EU?

Microsoft’s Chief Storyteller

Steve ClaytonI met this week with Steve Clayton, “chief storyteller” at Microsoft.

A few years ago, Steve was working at the company’s offices in Reading.  His job involved talking with startups and small tech companies based in London.  Many of the people he met viewed Microsoft as dull and conservative.  This clashed with Steve’s sense from within the company that a lot of his colleagues were actually doing some pretty cool and innovative things.

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Participatory budgeting – “giving ordinary people real power over real money”

US cities like New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle have all experimented in recent years with initiatives designed to give local people a direct say in decisions on public spending.  These initiatives are inspired by the concept of participatory budgeting, which was originally developed in the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre.

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American students quiz MEPs

Debating Europe Schools

One of the things I love about digital media is their capacity to bridge geographical divides, establishing new connections between people who would be unlikely to cross paths in the offline world.

So I was delighted to be able to offer my students here at the University of Washington in Seattle an opportunity to put questions directly to Members of the European Parliament.

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Govloop – a knowledge network for government

Govloop logoAccording to the small world theory, we are all six connections or less away from anyone else on the planet.

I’ve been putting this theory to the test during my stay here in the USA by trying to connect with various people who are doing interesting things with digital media.  One of the people I was keen on talking to is Steve Ressler, founder of Govloop (a social network for government employees).  When I spoke a couple of weeks ago to Washington State’s social media network, it turned out that one of the members of the network knows Steve and he put us in touch.

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Celebrating Europe Day in Seattle

2013 Europe Day Lecture, University of WashingtonEurope Day has been marked with a series of events this week at the University of Washington in Seattle.  Colleagues from the EU Center at the University organized a European quiz that attracted morning crowds crossing the central “Red Square” on campus, lured by the promise of free coffee and EU giveaways!  And I was honoured to be invited to deliver this year’s Europe Day lecture to a group of students, faculty and representatives of the local community.

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