What’s the survey? A 2011 survey of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) exploring how they use the web to communicate with constituents, and to inform their thinking on policy matters
Executive summary:Using the web for outgoing communication The most notable developments since the 2009 survey have been the doubling of social network uptake (mainly Facebook), the rising popularity of Twitter (but by a far smaller margin), and the decline in blogging. Personal contact and media coverage are still viewed by MEPs as most effective although there is a shift towards social media, especially social networks. This confidence does not apply to all channels: many respondents feel that Twitter is ineffective. Of those who tweet and/or blog, the greatest benefit was universally named as ‘expressing views to constituents’ rather than ‘engaging in conversation’.
Executive summary:Using the web for research All MEPs use the internet extensively to research their daily legislative work. Media remains key with both traditional and EU-focused news being regularly followed, indicating an interesting overlap between traditional media and digital: digital tools are increasingly used as the gateway to traditional media. Interest group websites are also valuable sources of information, in particular when they provide summaries of issues, although MEPs still appreciate in-depth reports. Specific issue websites are valued more than generic organisation websites, which implies that producing separate, specialised content on key issues through microsites for example is a highly viable approach when communicating with MEPs.
10 key stats 69% of MEPs use social networks whereas in 2009 only 33% used social networks extensively. 29% write a personal blog, compared to 40% in 2009. 34% are on Twitter, up from 21%. 61% consider social networks as effective channels of communication but only 31% felt the same way about Twitter specifically. 88% deem national media coverage effective in communicating with voters; personal contact is the most valued with 95% calling it effective. 78% consider personal websites effective communications channels. 30% of those who blog and 33% who tweet use two or more languages. 95% visit online versions of traditional newspapers several times a week. 80% visit interest group sites every week. 80% of MEPs are looking for summaries of issues when researching online.
Which of the following online tools do you use to communicate to voters and other interested parties?
How effective do you believe these channels to be in communicating with voters and other interested parties?
If you blog, in which language do you normally blog? If you are on Twitter, in which language do you normally Tweet?
If you are on Twitter, which is the greatest benefit?
How frequently do you use the following online tools/resources for research or other daily legislative work?
When researching online, what are you looking for?
How important are the following in informing your thinking on policy issues?
How useful are the following methods of stakeholder communication in informing your thinking on policy issues? (companies, trade associations, NGOs, other)
Methodology The data was generated from qualitative research with eight multiple choice questions on an internet based survey tool. 120Members of the European Parliament responded. The sample represents 16% of European Parliamentarians in the 7th legislature. Of the 120 responses, 109 chose to give information as to their nationality and party. From these we have representatives from most national delegations and political groups, broadly reflecting the composition of the Parliament.
Charities Fleishman-Hillardmade a donation to these charities for every response received from a Member of the European Parliament. ONE LAPTOP PER CHILD is a charity that seeks to create educational opportunities for the world’s poorest children by providing each child with specially designed laptops, thus ensuring they are better connected to each other, to the world and to a brighter future. For more information please visit: www.laptop.org SAVE THE CHILDREN-PAKISTAN APPEAL. Following the devastating floods in 2010 in Pakistan, Save the Children is working with national, district and local governments to send vital health staff and supplies to unreached communities. Official website: www.savethechildren.org
For the complete survey visit www.epdigitaltrends.eu