Every one in a while a Brussels media outlet or public affairs firm tries to show they are digital-aware by publishing a kind of league table of something to do with social media in the EU bubble. Yesterday it was Euractiv and ZN’s turn – they held an event called #EUInfluencer, put up a methodology, and came up with a league table. This is it:
It’s good to be ranked 5th in the table, not least because the four ahead of me are one of the best known journalists in Brussels, two Commission spokespeople, and Berlaymonster!
How did I end up getting ranked fifth here?
First, the time you put into writing about the EU and tweeting about it, ultimately pays off and people do eventually notice. Second, being independent actually works – you can say some things that others would never dare say. That’s my explanation for why people tend to follow what I write here and on Twitter. Third, without my blog and Twitter I would probably be stuck in some tedious regular job somewhere – although this blog and Twitter earn me no money directly, without them I would not be able to do most of the work contracts I do as a freelancer. Fourth, influencing the EU is not dependent on being actually present in Brussels, which is a point I made in this short video I sent over to ZN for the event yesterday that I couldn’t attend in person:
But what is the actual point of such league tables or assessments?
There it gets more murky. Yes, ZN published a methodology, but as ever some people criticised it. To try to assess non-politicians was I think interesting, because to have added all of the politicians in Brussels would have meant only they occupied all the top positions. But a point a friend made to me on Facebook strikes me as very relevant: surely there are senior people in Brussels who wield more influence offline, but have not yet managed to leverage social media adeuqately. Essentially the opposite applies to me – I might have some success making online conversations happen, but my problem is I cannot then necessarily make change take place in the real world.
So in short, thank you ZN and Euractiv. No ranking can ever please everyone, but at least this one is clearer than some others. Plus the top 40 are at the very least an interesting bunch to follow on Twitter (ZN has a Twitter list of them all here).