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Social Media and Politics: An interview with the EPP group in Brussels

Social Media and Politics

Social media and politics work together very well for the purpose of disseminating political messaging to voters. It has gone so far as to create a whole new slate of roles in political organisations. We now see hundreds of eager, astute and creative individuals sitting at desks across the globe tweeting, analyzing data and creating videos, all with audience specific content in mind.

We were lucky to get a chance to talk to one such individual whose work as a Social Media Coordinator for the social media and politics in the European Parliament is exactly that.

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Dominique Roch

Dominique Roch is based in Brussels, the epicentre of European politics. The European People's Party group is the political group in the European Parliament consisting of MEPs from the member parties of the European People's Party. The EPP has members such as Fine Gael in Ireland, the CDU in Germany, and the People’s Party in Spain.

Dominique’s day consists largely of creating content to be shared out on the EPP Group’s various social media channels and website. Like anyone who manages social platforms, web traffic is a priority and therefore needs to be monitored closely.

“Within the digital team, which includes the website and social media, we have a work divide by experience, talent and interest. I spend a great deal of my time processing large data sets and translating those into something actionable”

Social media in a political organisation

Having always had a strong interest in politics, it was TV journalism which first brought Dominique to Brussels. Upon arrival, she found that a career in the political sector was preferable to journalism.

"The EPP Group’s Press and Communication Directorate has a slightly different structure to that of other groups. We have communication teams dedicated to specific delegations. Some of them run their own national delegation channels, for example Twitter or Facebook, but it is broadly speaking up to them to decide if they want to do that. We have a horizontal and a vertical system in place. I work in the horizontal team, preparing content and campaigns for all. It is then up to the national press team to decide if and how they want to publish the content."

It is interesting to note the structure of social media output in large scale operations such as the EPP group. This kind of tiered level dissemination ensures that there are many eyes on content before it ever reaches the public. This means less chance for mistakes which we all know can sometimes prove damaging.

Social media is constantly evolving and has proved indispensable for politicians, I asked Dominique if there were any other political trends that we needed to watch in 2019?

"New technologies, features and threats are taking over social media platforms on a day to day basis. Of course, I could say Instagram TV will be the new kid on the block. I make my living by communicating and that means communicating predominantly online. That being said, I am a fan of meaningful and effective interaction. Don’t just post videos and stuff for the sake of posting. People are getting fed up with consuming empty and meaningless posts. It's clear to see that people are becoming very selective with what they consume online so we need to be smarter.

My trend for 2019: less is more. More meaningful posts, more interaction AND using online platforms to do/organize something for offline. The best communities are those that engage with your social media content and are willing to take real actions out into the real world. The challenge, in short, is having an impact on people’s lives and behavior instead of collecting likes and adding up reach."

A huge thanks to Dominique Roch for providing us with a bit of insight into a typical day as a Social Media Coordinator operating in Brussels.

**Credit to Photographer Martin Lahousse for providing us with some stellar shots.

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