June 10, 2011
Those that know FinancialGuy personally know that I have recently moved myself south towards the sun, in Malta. While Malta is clearly very keen on it’s European-ness, there are obviously less events for someone like me to attend. So when they do come along, I am keen to be invited.
Yesterday saw a meeting of the European Economic and Social Committeee, hosted by their Vice President, Anna Maria Darmanin (a Maltese). The event was a mix between communication issues and youth policy, titled, “How can civil society appeal to and communicate with young people?”
As might be imagined in the current climate, the words ‘facebook and twitter‘ were used repeatedly. As we know, they have come to represent ‘social media’ through their ubiquitousness. Yet there seemed to be some differences from the panel about how and why they are so effective.
Clyde Puli, Malta’s Parliamentary Secretary for Youth and Sport, suggested that it is all about the tools. He described facebook as the new town square. EESC Vice President Jacek Krawczyk perceptively remarked that the tools are important but it is really all about the content.
So which is it? Is it the tools, the gatherings they enable or the message that can be sent through them? Or, is it all three?
Those that have spent any time in Brussels will know that there is a veritable army of people ‘communicating’. Spokespeople, press officers, event arrangers, journalists, the wider media and on and on. The European Union already uses almost every communication channel known to man.
Yet, there is clearly a problem reaching many young Europeans. Perhaps young Europeans are simply a mirror of wider society, reflecting the values of their elders? There are, after all, a great many adult Europeans that are not and will not be engaged politically. It is, of course, is their democratic right to not want to be bothered by politics.
Perhaps the message needs to be better, or more relevant to young people?
Inevitably, the state of Europe’s economy reared it’s head in these discussions. The high rates of unemployment amongst young people and the growing numbers of ‘professional’ trainees, both of which lead to the lack of careers, were seen as vitally important. Young Europeans need proper jobs.
It seems that the participants of this meeting knew the subject matter to communicate and they knew which tools will help to reach their audience, but once again there is no clear message from Europe about what can be done to help.
The more things change, the more they stay the same…financialguy