European Digital Advocacy Summit #EDAS2014

Yesterday I participated in the European Digital Advocacy Summit, an event organised by the Public Affairs Council. I suppose it was meant to function as an inspirational kick-off event for public affairs professionals (lobbyists) who we’re thinking of using online/social media as part of their tool box. In any case there was a lively Twitter discussion which you can find by searching for the hashtag #EDAS2014.

I was on the first panel in the morning after the keynote speech and even though I’d been asked to speak about European Ombudsman business I decided to frame my 10 minutes introduction a little differently, while still talking about an issue the Ombudsman holds dearly. Below are my notes, re-worked into a more prosaic version. For veterans in EU social media, this will be trivia, but maybe others will find it useful.

To quickly recap who the heck I am, I arrived in Brussels as a Blue Book Trainee in 2008. I was a trainee with the central Commission web team that runs the Europa.eu website. I kind of just stayed on after that, and was lucky to get a temporary post there and I started the Social Media Team with Bert Van Maele and other great people. When my contract ran out in 2012 I joined the EU Ombudsman’s office. I decided to move back to Denmark for personal reasons in the spring of this year and will start working for the Poul Due Jensen Foundation on 1 July.

When we started experimenting with social media at the Commission in 2009-10 it quickly became clear that we were moving into a grey zone in communication. This showed itself in the difficulties rising with regards to
official communication vs individual opinions (control of messages). We were of the opinion that it was a golden opportunity to humanise EU communication if more civil servants would engage in conversations, while within the higher echelons there was fear of loss of control (in our view it was already lost) resulting in a cacaphony of voices.

So we saw an immediate need for staff training but also to educate upwards to create understanding and get the top endorsement needed for our colleagues to jump in and test the water.

We chose among other things to create a network across DGs and representations of people who would understand social media and become local specialists that would help push their own services in a more digitally friendly direction. We organised meetings and trainings for both Brussels-based colleagues across DGs but also for our local colleagues in the representations and for spokespersons and their press officers and in some cases even commissioners.

We agreed that there would probably be a cacophony of voices, but there are limits to which meaningful conversations you can have with the central EU web team about technical issues such as regional policy or fisheries, so the idea was that policy experts in time would also be taking part in conversations online as part of their work. Something which is indeed the case today in a service like DG Connect or ECHO, maybe less so in DG trade. We had to change the culture from the inside.

In the beginning, we looked especially to the UK and US, where public sector engagement online was a lot more ahead, and where civil servants were encouraged to participate and talk about work related issues. There were clear but positive instructions for staff conduct online, and something very important was to be transparent about who you were and the purpose of your participation in a given conversation. Some of the advice given were:

– be honest
– contribute where you can
– be polite and constructive
– be a civil servant

So we put together our policies and training programmes with such values in mind. EU staff wishing to also participate online in work related conversations should not hide their job but state it clearly when participating in fora or write it on their profile. It shouldn’t be hidden whose agenda you are working for. Most of us are interested in very specific issues and since the EU charter states that we are an open and transparent administration, it is of no use to act as if we were guarding trade secrets.

And this is a point I would like to promote to all of you who seek to influence conversations about EU policy: that transparency should be something you take very seriously, also when engaging in online conversations. But at the same time you should try to accept and embrace that there is a cacaphony of voices out there, with niche discussions your colleagues and co-workers could participate in – given the right training and a clear mandate.

You should not necessarily stick to one corporate account on Twitter, but also individually seek out the interesting conversations where they are and try to find the relevant people to connect with. You should not hide who you are, who you work for and which agendas you work to promote.

You should use social media to create relations and contribute to relevant conversations – to establish yourselves as trusted voices within those conversations. But there is no need to try and hide your motives, your professional affiliations or the interests you work to promote.

People will find out anyway, so better be up front about it 🙂

Alle veje fĂžrer til … Randers

I gĂ„r tog jeg langt om lĂŠnge mod til mig og gik pĂ„ opdagelse i Randers pĂ„ egen hĂ„nd. Jeg mĂ„ med skam erkende, at mine forudindtagede holdninger om Randers’ beskaffenhed blev alvorligt udfordrede.

Stort set ligegyldigt hvor man kommer fra i Jylland, tror jeg man hurtigt kan blive enig om at Randers nok er noget nĂŠr det vĂŠrste sted man kan ende. Den lokale regiolekt er latterliggjort til perfektion i Team Easy-On‘s lade, drĂŠvende holdejer Henning Primdahl, og det har vĂŠret en helt naturlig del af min opvĂŠkst i Aalborg at vi gjorde tykt nar af dem fra Randers a‘. SĂ„ det var bestemt ikke pĂ„ grund af Randers’ gode ry, at jeg valgte at flytte til egnen.

Men Êrligt talt, sÄ vidste jeg absolut intet om Randers, og jeg mÄ bare indrÞmme at der har sneget sig en lille spire af begejstring ind i mit sind oven pÄ gÄrsdagens rundtur ad Stjerneruten.

Det viser sig nemlig at Randers har en stolt historie som middelalderligt handelscentrum med bÄde slot, kloster, masser af fine gamle huse, en smuk gotisk kirke, hele 11 indfaldsveje og egen handskefabrik, den eneste af sin slags i hele Skandinavien. Og gÄgaderne er fyldt med hyggelige butikker, sÄ jeg fik ogsÄ svinget Dankortet dygtigt.

PÄ madsiden var der bÄde nedtur og begejstring. Jeg prÞvede en rulle med falafel hos Pepitos pizza i gÄgaderne, hvilket var en tam, slatten oplevelse, selv med bÄde chili og hvidlÞg. Til gengÊld kom jeg forbi UndervÊrket, hvor jeg fandt en grÞnthandler der sÊlger frisk koriander (godt nok til 10 kr pr. bundt, hvor jeg er vant til at betale 25 cent) og en snack der reklamerer med byens bedste rullekebab, som jeg mÄ prÞve nÊste gang (selv om forventningerne er ret lave efter Pepito skuffelsen). Der er sÄgar en vandpibecafé, hvis man skulle fÄ den slags lyster.

Under alle omstÊndigheder har jeg nu Äbnet mit hjerte for Randers. Jeg er sikker pÄ der er mere godt i vente.

Her er lidt billeder fra turen:

Randers Handsker. Mur ved Laksetorvet
Randers Handsker. Mur ved Laksetorvet
Kik til baggÄrd fra gÄgaderne.
Kik til baggÄrd fra gÄgaderne.
RĂ„dhustorvet. Statue af Niels Ebbesen, stĂžbt af kanoner fra orlogsskibet Dannebrog!
RĂ„dhustorvet. Statue af Niels Ebbesen, stĂžbt af kanoner fra orlogsskibet Dannebrog!
Detalje fra Niels Ebbesens hus. Efter sigende skal lemmen Þverst til hÞjre altid stÄ Äben, sÄ den myrdede Grev Geerts Änd kan komme ud og ind.
Detalje fra Niels Ebbesens hus. Efter sigende skal lemmen Þverst til hÞjre altid stÄ Äben, sÄ den myrdede Grev Geerts Änd kan komme ud og ind.
Detalje fra HelligÄndshuset, som fÞrst var kloster og siden latinskole. Steen St. Blicher har undervist her.
Detalje fra HelligÄndshuset, som fÞrst var kloster og siden latinskole. Steen St. Blicher har undervist her.

 

Aldrig mere hvedeknopper!

A propos ting man kan savne blot fordi man ikke lige har adgang til dem (eller ikke har haft de sidste 6 Är): Under dagens jagt pÄ krydderier kom jeg forbi FÞtex pÄ Mariagervej i Randers, og i indgangen solgte de til min glÊde og begejstring hveder, fordi det jo er Store Bededag i morgen fredag.

“…selve Store Bededag jo skulle vĂŠre en arbejdsfri bede- og bodsdag. Derfor skulle bagerne ogsĂ„ have fri, og kunne altsĂ„ ikke bage brĂžd mv pĂ„ selve dagen. Derfor bagte de hvedetvebakker aftenen fĂžr, som folk kunne kĂžbe for at spise (og evt. varme) dagen efter.”

GlÊden skulle dog vise sig at vare rimelig kort. Der var 8 i pakken, og manden og jeg delte en enkelt og jeg mÄtte med skam give ham ret i at hveden sÄdan set ikke er andet end forstadiet til en tvebak, godt nok med et strejf af kardemomme, men generelt tÞr og kedelig pÄ trods af smÞrret.

SĂ„ nu er det sagt: Vi.Gider.Ikke.Hveder.

Husk det nĂŠste Ă„r!

Ting jeg savner

Her til morgen er nogle af mine kolleger fra tiden i Kommissionen gĂ„et i rundhyl over den her bagerforretning i Uccle (den dyreste kommune i Bruxelles) og deres enorme udvalg af Ă©clairs. Éclairen er en aflang vandbakkelse fyldt med creme eller flĂždeskum eller mousse, og her fĂ„s de altsĂ„ bĂ„de i salte og sĂžde udgaver.

Jeg er ikke nÞdvendigvis den store sukkertrold, men at vide at jeg ikke har sÄ let adgang til den slags madorgier giver mig en ubÊndig trang til at bringe hele verden ind i mit eget kÞkken. Nu. OgsÄ selvom ungerne sikkert rynker pÄ nÊsen.

Randers forekommer mig ikke just som det mest multi-kulti-agtige sted at bo, og en hurtig Google-sĂžgning bekrĂŠftede ogsĂ„ min mistanke: der var kun 5,4% udlĂŠndinge i Randers Kommune i 2009. SĂ„ chancen for at finde en butik med en ordentlig mango chutney og et hĂŠderligt udvalg af spidskommenfrĂž og sort kardemomme til min garam masala er forsvindende lille. SĂ„ fandt jeg www.netmarked.net som har alt det jeg mangler – men de leverer sĂ„ ikke i det mĂžrke Jylland. Suk.

Jeg tror jeg mÄ en tur i Bazar Vest i Aarhus snart.

PÄ den anden side er jeg blevet 2 kg lettere siden jeg forlod Bruxelles, sÄ mÄske er det ikke helt skidt alligevel?

Nam nam… alverdens éclairs

Garden projects

I have to give it to the man. You only have to dream things out loud once and he starts executing. In January I made the mistake of mentioning that I’d have to buy a car when I moved home, and when after months of discussion with no real opinion as to the model on my side, I finally settled on an old Saab (because that’s what my parents drove when I got my license), he was so relieved he went and got it for me before I changed my mind. I therefore now drive a midnight blue Saab 9.3 from 1998. I have named her Queen Silvia after the Swedish queen, who also keeps her head high in spite of … Well, let me not get into discussions about the Swedish royal family.

Anyway, the same goes for the garden. Last year he built me a greenhouse, I believe it was a sort of bait to make me move home to Denmark. Dare I mention that he also made a beer well in said greenhouse? There’s a tiny cellar where you can fit in cans of beer and keep them at 8 degrees Celsius year round. Totally worked, as you can tell.

This year I have been put to work in the greenhouse, and I have to say I much enjoy being able to grow my own herbs. Especially the idea of having unlimited access to fresh Thai basil, coriander and Moroccan mint all summer makes me very happy, as I haven’t come across many grocery shops with that sort of herbs yet. Actually the mint has already left the greenhouse (it became too big for its pot) and I have planted it under the verandah facing south. I imagine it will spread like crazy and you can spend the warm summer days picking mint leaves from atop the verandah to make fresh mojitos… and the lovely smell of mint will be everywhere!

Besides that, this year’s big project is building a shelter and a big fireplace in the garden. The parts for the shelter arrived yesterday and the man has called in assistance for the putting together bit this weekend. It’s meant to be warm and sunny, so I am looking forward to getting my hands dirty… again.

The man says the key to a healthy relationship is one big project every year. But I try not to dream out too loud because we’ve already got projects lined up for the next 5 years I think.

First weekend as resident Dane

I arrived in Aalborg airport on Thursday evening, quite tired after the long trip and the previous evening’s festivities. My stuff had arrived on Wednesday and so Friday was spent going through the boxes and trying to divide them into thematic piles related to the content and which part of the house they will live in. Some of my furniture will go to a yard sale, but I was delighted that Claus helped me fix the old kitchen cupboard that I bought via www.troc.com (great place, btw). The shelves are stable and the hinges have been oiled – and as a bonus we found space for it in the dining room. It now contains all our board games and the children’s games.

I also went into Randers to register with the Citizen Service. That went pretty easy, I just had to show ID and fill out a form, and I only had to wait about 10 minutes for my turn. Luxury compared to the Commune d’Ixelles! I also tried to locate the pharmacy, which was a bit of a struggle. Unlike Brussels, Danish cities do not have a pharmacy on every corner. In the end, with some help from a friendly local, I found it. Phew.

I felt brave and followed the sign to Randers Tourist information (I thought it might be a good investment to get to know my new hood), but never found it. It would seem signposting in Randers has some similarities to Brussels. Randers is the 6th city in Denmark – after Copenhagen, Aarhus, Odense, Aalborg and Esbjerg – with a whopping 61.000 inhabitants according to Wikipedia.

Over the weekend I have unpacked my toiletries and clothes, and most of my kitchen stuff. I am trying to reorganise the kitchen so it is more practical, which takes some time. Everything needs to be labelled as the grandparents of the children often come and pick them up from school and cook a few times per week.

Sports gear is in a pile in the hallway and all my books and files are still in their boxes in the living room. To be dealt with ASAP.

I need to register with the unemployment office today and there is also lots to do in the greenhouse before I pick up the kids. I have my first tuck-in duty tonight, so best get going!

Farvel til Fiona

I dag ender alting. Jeg forlader Bruxelles for at begynde et nyt kapitel i livet. Min sambo gennem 3,5 Är, Fiona, har opsagt lejligheden i Avenue Hergé for at finde noget mindre hvor hun kan bo selv. Jeg er pÄ vej til Danmark i skrivende stund, og sidder og bliver helt bekymret for hvordan hun dog skal overleve uden mig?

Jeg hÄber hun gÞr alvor af truslen om at adoptere nogle af mine venner, som jeg fÞrst nÄede at introducere hende til ved min afskedsdrink i aftes. Jeg har skrevet en lang liste med telefonnumre til hende her til morgen, sÄ der er lidt at tage af. Nu hvor Michela og jeg selv er rykket nordpÄ, mÄ hun jo fylde pladserne rundt om middagsbordet med nogen andre.

Jeg hÄber hun ikke ikke slÄr alle planterne pÄ balkonen ihjel inden hun flytter fra vores fÊlles hjem, og at hun tÊnker pÄ mig nÄr hun sidder blandt dem og nipper til den rosévin, jeg havde med hjem til hende fra Alsace. Lavendlen har overlevet vinteren og er rimelig hÄrdfÞr, og den er lige pÄ nippet til at springe ud. Jeg har sÄet tallerkensmÊkkere og hvide Êrteblomster til hende, som jeg ogsÄ hÄber snart kommer til at stÄ i fuldt flor. Der er grÞnne jordbÊr pÄ planterne og kartoflerne vi sÄede er ogsÄ gÄet amok i deres potte.

Jeg hÄber hun husker at betale for internet. Jeg har ladet abonnementet stÄ i mit navn, sÄ hun kan modtage regningerne. Faktisk forsÞgte jeg at flytte abonnementet over i hendes navn, men det ville de ikke uden at se hendes ID kort. Jeg mÄ ordne det senere.

Fiona a.k.a. the ex-wife har heldigvis allerede dĂŠkket min post ind. Hendes gode ven Andy stĂ„r klar i kulissen, og det varmer at vide at der er en venlig sjĂŠl som ser efter hende. Efter sigende underskriver han allerede sine sms’er med “the wife”, sĂ„ min rolle er udspillet.

Og det er ogsÄ godt.

For i dag begynder alting.

EP-valg: fĂžlg med og bliv klogere

Jeg poster jĂŠvnligt i Facebook-eventen “Jeg stemmer til EP-valget“, som er oprettet af Europa-parlamentets kontor i KĂžbenhavn. Hvis du har lyst til at fĂžlge med og evt. invitere dine venner, sĂ„ klik pĂ„ linket og deltag i festen.

Valgvideo 1979
Valgvideo 1979

 

Jeg faldt i Ăžvrigt lige over denne 35 Ă„r gamle reklame for det fĂžrste direkte EP-valg nogensinde:

 

Se eller del evt. ogsÄ denne korte EP Valgvideo eller find mere materiale pÄ parlamentets valgsite.

Kommentarfelt mangler

Bare til orientering, sÄ er jeg i gang med at hitte ud af hvorfor WordPress nÊgter at aktivere kommentarfeltet.

Ind til det er fikset kan man ikke fĂžlge bloggen, med mindre man subscriber til RSS feed’en ovenfor.

Bekagler…

UPDATE: lortet virker ;o)

 

FIRE mandater??

Nej, trÊk mig nu baglÊns gennem fuglekassen! Ovre pÄ min gamle studenterpamperkammerat Peters blog har han regnet sig frem til at DF kan fÄ fire ud af Danmarks kun tretten mandater i Europaparlamentet ved det kommende valg.

Suk. Man skal Äbenbart benytte sig af skrÊmmekampagner for at fÄ folk til at stemme pÄ sig.

UPDATE: Hvis nogen kunne tĂŠnke sig at finde ud af hvordan de danske MEP’er har stemt i 2009-14 og sammenligne egne holdninger med den fĂžrte politik, er her et godt sted at starte: MyVote2014.eu