I will be speaking about the European blogosphere on the re:Unite track of the re:publica conference in Berlin in early May. In preparation, I can draw on the ongoing discussion about Euroblogging here on this and other blogs, but I am also doing some additional empirical research.
One of the hypothetical and real questions that such research faces is how to find the Euroblogosphere outside the EU bubble and its naturally Brussels-focused blogs. More importantly, how to find it in all EU languages, even the ones one is not able to read and understand?
For this post, I have therefore made use of Google’s blog search and Icerocket to search for the term “European Commission” in several EU languages to see whether I would be able to find recent blogs and blog posts from across the EU which mention this institution. I especially was looking for “genuine” blogs and not news sites or PR pages that only resemble blogs.
Here are some search results from nine EU languages that I do not understand at all (note: I’ve learned some Estonian but must admit that not much is left):
Non blog post found.
Nelly Ognianova blogs (transl.) about a copyright case in front of the European Court of Justice (Note: The article does not contain a reference to the Commission but I found the blog through the search term.)
Could not find anything that looked like a real blog (a lot seemingly fake blogs out there!) having used “European Commission” recently. Although this surprises me.
No blog post found.
No blog post found.
On Politilogas, Constantine Reckovas covers (transl.) the recent discussions between the European Commission and Hungary. Interestingly, the Hungarian parliament seemed to have recently passed a resolution thanking the Lithuanian for its support of the Hungarian sovereignty.
Now, these results for 1/3 of the EU countries may not reflect the reality, but they show a reality in which trying to be up-to-date about EU-related discussions in national blogs, especially those written in languages one is not able to understand, is quite difficult. I could find recent blog posts related to “European Commission” in 5 of the 9 languages, but the choice of articles found through this brute force method was not large in no single case.
These search results may reflect both a lack of discussion about the things the European Commission does or my inability to search for them correctly (e.g. by search for grammatical variances of the “European Commission”. It may also be worth looking for other EU or Europe-related search terms to get a wider choice of results.
Another problem is that the Google translation still does not in all cases produce completely readable texts. For example, in the case of the Lithuanian blog post there was an interesting aspect that I would have like to understand better, but without a decent translation it is impossible to really grasp the essence of the story. It is also very difficult to judge the authenticity of blogs in Google translated versions, so when distinguishing fake blogs from actual blogging I had to rely on my intuition about how blog posts look like.
This was however just a start and I will continue this type of research in the coming weeks in preparation of the re:publica. If you have proposals for interesting blog posts on EU matters in your own national language, feel free to point me towards them. Any other remarks are also welcome!
(Blog post edited at 22.20)