Exactly five years ago, when Bloggingportal.eu went live, I was living in Moldova and working in pre-electoral assistance, looking ahead to return to Germany to start my pre-doctoral research for what would become my thesis on “Information Flows in EU Policy-Making” (more background here). Today I live in Brussels, and I’m just back from a 48h hackathon around the European Parliament, in time to take a look back at the past five years.
At the same time as Bloggingportal.eu came to life five years ago, the European Parliament elections 2009 were awaited with interest, and while few media would care about them at that time, the European elections were covered by a number of European blogs, many of which were re-united on Bloggingportal. The last 100 blog posts from 2009 that were tagged as “European Parliament elections 2009” can still be found on our platform.
This is why we have just added a new tag for the “European Parliament elections 2014” through which we will try to bring blog posts around the EU elections closer to you.
Looking back to 2009, Bloggingportal.eu made European blogging and European discussions visible to me, discussions that had no place anywhere else. But Bloggingportal.eu has been much more for me than just a platform of blogs, it has been a community of bloggers.
Bloggingportal.eu was all this: Discovering the Euroblogosphere through Nosemonkey’s overview blog post in 2008, a post that was basically the only starting point into euroblogs that existed before Bloggingportal.eu. Meeting fellow editors Jon Worth or Kosmoplit for the first time in Rotterdam in Spring 2009. Discussing with Mathew about how to build a networked European public in Brussels in October 2009. Meeting Macarena and others at what must have been the first ever EU Tweetup.
I found my first flat-share in Brussels through Europasionaria and I became one of the three first bloggers (all three Bloggingportal.eu co-editors) to be officially accredited at the Council of Ministers thanks to Kovacs & Kovats. I could tell many, many occasions more through which Bloggingportal.eu has shaped the way I lived and work.
Today, blogging is just one of many ways to communicate online in Europe, and by far not the most commonly used.
Yet, as strange as it seems today, five years ago Facebook had just become the dominant platform in Europe and Twitter was just starting off as a medium through which you could have political discussions. Just as a comparison:
The overall number of uses of the the main EU 2009 election hashtag #EU09 was 2162 in total, the hashtag #EP2009 only existed 16 times (according to Topsy in May 2013 [cannot reproduce this today]), while the main hashtag today, #EP2014, has been used 20,000 times in the past month. Basically, you could almost quote all relevant tweets in one blog post in 2009…
But in 2009, Bloggingportal.eu was at the centre of attention, at least of mine. Blogging and meeting all those other eurobloggers online and offline, I became connected to the European sphere and kept on blogging throughout 2009, which eventually made me get in contact with the EU Office of Transparency International in 2010 where I work today – and where I currently focus my work on the European elections again, being reminded about the time as a very active Bloggingportal.eu editor following the elections from afar.
Although Bloggingportal.eu has quieted down in recent times, in particular because social media have moved on and because many of those who have animated the platform in recent years are now more busy with work and life, have new projects or stopped blogging, the idea behind the portal is kept alive – connecting discussions in Europe and about Europe and giving a voice to those who speak about European affairs who don’t already have a voice.
This is why we – almost 10 of the editors – have met last weekend to discuss how we can not only keep alive the idea but actually push it forward again with a reboot. If we succeed, you will see that what started as a simple idea behind a coffee table is still something that is worth pursuing. Because it is!
So happy 5th birthday, Bloggingportal.eu – and let’s finally get the reboot done (see Mathew’s latest blog post for the ideas and plans)!