We had a short debate of low depth compared to what you can read in blog posts on this topic. The essence one could take away from our discussion came from two of the speakers.
Gergely, one of the spokespersons of the Hungarian Council Presidency, said that what the EU bubble – online and offline – is missing is some “blood”. He said that he misses stories of failure from inside the institutions instead of all the “success spin” and that he’d like to see serious scepticism from outside and inside the institutions through social media.
And Andy, a former blogger and now a Brussels journalist, reminded the audience that bloggers as well as journalists should pay attention not to become victims of the spin of institutional communicators or PR and PA companies with big interests.
The latter was most important since the discussion we had was hosted by the public affairs and public relations company MHPC which is opening an office in Brussels.
It’s just another of the many companies in Brussels that will try to organise the EU policy spin for corporate and other clients, and when you look at their website it looks like most other communication and lobbying firms around the city, pretending to be cool and professional but most likely ready to do whatever is necessary to earn (a lot of) money, nothing new and nothing special.
I didn’t actually mind to speak at such an event because as a Bloggingportal.eu editor it doesn’t matter where you talk about the EU blogosphere if you can.
But looking at all those people in their suits and the MHPC, law and lobby firm, European Parliament and other organisations’ badges you were wondering whether Brussels needs more of the same corporate stuff.
I also doubt whether they actually get the concept of citizen media, even having Mark Pack as head of their digital affairs. They definitely will not bring any change regarding what I’ve observed in “Why there is no serious blogging scene in Brussels” because they are businessmen, not citizens.
In my eyes, nobody needs more companies like MHP in Brussels – especially not citzens – and you realised this when you listened to the introductory speech one of them – a lobbyist in a suit – gave. His talk is full of PR/PA bullshit language that is saying nothing at all – probably because they have nothing to say. Just listen to his speech:
What the MHPC guy is telling is nothing but the usual corporate self-promotion-useless–buzzword-stuff most of these Brussels communication companies are telling. Pretending to be different he says what everyone says, and even in an extra-extreme buzzwordy-way.
And apparently this is the general style of the company, as you can see here:
Now being in Brussels, this MHP buzzwording will very likely either be paid by the European taxpayer through contracts from the EU institutions who don’t want anything but buzzwording or this buzzwording will be hiding very straightforward lobbying and “reputation management” (aka “spin” or “propaganda”) against the interest of the European taxpayers done behind the scenes and paid for by interests who prefer not to be seen.
So it was nice to discuss the EU blogosphere and get one or two drinks afterwards but that’s all. The rest was more of the same in Brussels:
A reception on Place Luxembourg in the middle of the EU bubble organised by some lobbyist company attended by a lot of lobbyists, some people from the institutions and a few bloggers one of which felt like an alien in the midst of non-citizens.