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One decade of Polscieu

Tomorrow, this blog celebrates its 10th anniversary. Much has happened in those ten years. Too much to write a summary, but the 305 posts published still document some of my work, my activism,  and my research over the years.

I published my first post on 5 November 2010, after I had just returned from living in Brussels for half a year. One of my earliest posts — “Reading a Japanese journal article with Google Translate” — still regularly brings readers to this blog, although I don’t know why.

2011 was an amazing year. I returned to Brussels and soon after became part of a series of blogger meetings with the Hungarian Council Presidency spokespersons. As a result, Europasionaria and I become the first eurobloggers ever to officially cover an EU Council meeting from the Council press room. In May 2011, we repeated this with the second bloggers’ coverage of a Council meeting.

When it comes to my academic life, my first participation in academic conference with my own research was the UACES conference in Cambridge in September 2011. A pre-conference blog post showed my worries about the paper I’d present, while my post-conference post sounds more optimistic.

The first half of 2012 was challenging as I was writing my PhD thesis in Berlin while still trying to blog and stay connected to Brussels politics (as I wanted to return). Participating at re:publica and advertising Euroblogging in Germany was definitely the blogger’s highlight of this year. My secret side project in that year—mainly a procrastination from my PhD writing— was authoring a fake Barroso blog for a few months. The blog even got a mention in a German news portal.

After the summer of 2012, my blog became quite quiet as I started working for the Transparency International EU Office and was also responsible for the social media communication. So from the 2nd half of 2012 my favourite post is this one on how the #EUCO hashtag was born in October 2010, i.e. quite exactly ten years ago.

2013 was a year with very little blogging as I was finishing writing my PhD thesis while also conducting a research project at Transparency International. So my post on how “The Matrix” inspired my doctoral research is probably the only text worth highlighting. Maybe alongside this post on Minecraft and the EU.

2014, the year of the European elections, started with a look at the emergence of a true European public sphere, foreshadowing the debates on migration that would follow a year later on a much larger scale. It was also the year when I moved from Brussels to Munich for my postdoc. Part of my research was on EU budgeting, so some of my blogging also moved in this direction while also watching how the new Juncker Commission emerged out of the “political” European elections.

In 2015, my blogging dried down even further, with this post on the network structure of European Parliament committees being maybe one of the more interesting things I did that year. I also did some blogging alongside my teaching on EU affairs in Munich.

In 2016, I managed to write only seven posts, only eight posts in 2017, and only one in 2018. 2019 continued to be a quiet year with only eight posts, and so was 2020 with only a few so far.

The only 2018, German-language post in defence of political science and large conferences against a critical essay in a German newspaper (‘FAZ’) became quite the debate in the German political science sphere. Sometimes writing one good post can replace a dozen boring posts, I guess.

This is clearly true for this year’s article that got a lot of attention when I announced that I’d leave university out of love for academia to create a new kind of research company. I’m still working on this while teaching Global Governance and EU Fiscal and Financial Governance at Hertie School in Berlin. Next year, the economic and overall situation permitting, this will be the focus of my attention.

What I realized over all these years of blogging is that long-form writing has its merits, but for most purposes Twitter (for text and links) or Instagram (for photos) are just the better medium to communicate ideas.

I like Polscieu because it has accompanied me for so long, but while 10 years ago blogging (still) felt like a worthwhile endeavour now few of the people who blogged back then are still doing it actively – Jon Worth being a notable exception (how do you do this, Jon?).

So I won’t put up a cake and candles to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Polscieu tomorrow, but this blog—just like my Twitter account but much less frequent in use—is still an outlet to share interesting insights that come across my way in a long form.

PS: Thanks to Ideas on Europe (by UACES) for hosting it all these years!

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