Science and technology: what do MEPs want to know?

“The STOA Panel, which meets monthly in Strasbourg, now comprises 24 MEPs, compared to the previous 15. Membership of the Panel involves monitoring techno-scientific developments, discussing with researchers and experts, proposing and deciding upon projects, and taking part in workshops and debates that all aim to underpin science-based policy-making in the EP.”

European Parliamentary Research Service Blog

Written by Nera Kuljanic and Liliana Cunha

Science and technology: what do MEPs want to know? © EU 2015 – On the photo: Members of the STOA Panel

Scientific and technological assessment and foresight are becoming ever more salient politically and are moving to the centre of policy-makers’ preoccupations. It is not surprising therefore that the European Parliament’s Science and Technology Options Assessment Panel (STOA), chaired by Paul Rübig MEP and under the responsibility of EP Vice-President Mairead McGuinness MEP, has recently been enlarged. The STOA Panel, which meets monthly in Strasbourg, now comprises 24 MEPs, compared to the previous 15. Membership of the Panel involves monitoring techno-scientific developments, discussing with researchers and experts, proposing and deciding upon projects, and taking part in workshops and debates that all aim to underpin science-based policy-making in the EP.

Besides the Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI), Employment & Social Affairs (EMPL), Environment, Public Health & Food Safety (ENVI), Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO),

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3+1 Tips: Increase your followers on Twitter. Diffuse your message more efficiently

Twitter is a fascinating way to spread your message quickly and spark a discussion about a particular topic. The number of followers has a substantial impact on the influence and the diffusion of your message. That is to say, the more followers you have, the more impact you might have. However, it should be taken into consideration that the challenge on Twitter is to compose an interactive, concise and influential message by using up to 140 characters. The character restriction imposes that a Twitter user should say briefly as much as possible. The following picture inspired me to share some tips that will help you to be more influential and thus increase the number of your followers on Twitter.

twitter

Tip 1: Set Objectives
Obviously the primary goal is to enhance your impact on Twitter by increasing the number of your followers. Nevertheless, to achieve this you need to define your target audience so that to develop a consistent communication strategy on Twitter.

Tip 2: Invest Time in Producing High-Quality Content
Personally, I think that this is the most important part of a good communication strategy. In other words, a high-quality content will attract other Twitter users at least to visit your profile. Among the fundamental principle that you need to have in mind is to be concise and interactive. The use of pictures and videos may increase the visibility of your Tweets.

In addition, when composing a Tweet is advisable to use hashtags (#) and mentions (@). The latter allows you to participate actively in discussions relevant to your professional or personal interests. Furthermore, it assists you to connect with individuals, organisations and brands relevant to your personal and professional interests.

Tip 3: Be Natural and Consistent
There is no doubt that being yourself is the number one rule that will help you to compose an interactive, concise and consistent message. Nonetheless, would like to clarify the following two points. Firstly, being yourself should not be interpreted as being unprofessional. Secondly, you should not be offensive to individuals or organisations with whom you do not share the same point of view.
Furthermore, you should be communicative with your followers. For instance, when you perceive that someone started following you on Twitter you may send him a “Thank you” private message. You may also launch new discussions and engage other Twitter users that might be interested

Tip 3+1: Measure the Results
In general, increasing your impact on social media requires a measurement of the results. A good indicator is to estimate how many times you have been mentioned in several discussions. Moreover, the number of followers may consist another good indicator. The number of “impressions” of your Tweets may provide you an insight regarding the impact of your messages and the number of people you visited your profile. Besides, these there are many social media metric tools, such as Hootsuite, Brandwatch, Tweetdeck a.o.

Concluding Remark: increase your followers, increase your impact
Finally, I would like to conclude that the number of your followers on Twitter influence to a great extent the spread and the influence of your message. The impact of your Tweets has a direct effect on your visibility. As a result, Twitter requires you to be consistent, natural, concise and interactive.

Like Vs Engagement: How to create brand awareness via the social networking platforms?

Everybody and every brand are present on the social networking platform. The major challenge is not to be online but to build brand awareness and get visibility. Engagement is the fundamental concept that will assist each brand to be visible and also to create a dialog between brands and followers.

The social networking platforms are embedded in the daily life of individuals and organizations. There is no doubt that the social networking platforms influence to a great extent the way we communicate, network, socialize and develop our preferences as consumers. Generally speaking, every individual and brand in the present on the social networking platform. Consequently, the point is not to go online but to be visible enough for your target audience. One of the main reasons is the information overload. In other words individuals are exposed to a vast amount of information so they find it challenging to distinguish what is relevant to them and what is not.

Nowadays, the social media strategy constitutes an essential part of the marketing strategy of a company for the following reasons. First of all, the strategic presence on the social networking platforms create visibility and brand awareness. Secondly, it creates engagement between fans, customers, and business partners. In this point, I would like to underline that the number of followers, i.e. LIKES on Facebook, is not an indicator of engagement. For instance, someone may like a Facebook page or follow a Twitter account but not be actively engaged. As a result, the organizations should not focus primarily on the number of followers but the number of people or brands actively engaged and interested in their activities. It is challenging to define engagement in social media due to the fact the social networking platforms are constantly evolving. However, for the purposes of this post I would like to define engagement as the relationship between individuals and brands or business and brands (in the case of B2B).

Engagement is vital because it creates visibility and brand awareness:

Organizations should take into account that engagement is essential in creating visibility and brand awareness, and getting recognition. Furthermore, engagement will set the bases to construct a continuous dialog between the brands and their target audience. Before proceeding to the identification of some engagement strategies I would like to mention some factors that may influence engagement. Firstly, brand engagement could be led to the construction of a community of fans, consumers, clients and business fond of a particular brand, and vice versa. Community is a core concept for my analysis. On the one point view, individuals have the intrinsic desire to belong to a community where they share their opinions on a particular topic with other people with similar interests. On the other point of views, brands have the tendency to form communities so that to understand better the market and shape their marketing strategy both online and offline. Secondly, the identity is another important concept that should be taken into account. I recognize that it is rather hard to define identity because many different social dynamics shape it. In the case of brand awareness, if individuals or brands identified with a particular brand it is more likely to become actively engaged. Thus, brand visibility is augmented.

Social media engagement is strongly related to a high quality market research:

An important part of designing a successful online strategy is to employ an adequate research on brand’s image and market positioning. Quantitative or qualitative research approaches, such as surveys and focus groups, are useful tools to study the image of a brand within the market. A good understanding of brand’s image and market positioning will assist to develop a direct narrative in line with brand’s vision and marketing strategy. Before proceeding with the development of a social media strategy, the brands should detect market’s needs. The latter may contribute to identifying better the target-group, an important component of audience development strategy. In addition, brands should consider that consumers’ preferences shape the communication dynamics in the online environment.

Brands should incorporate the rules of the different social networking platforms accordingly:

Audience development is strongly dependent on the dialog between brands and audience. On the social networking sites, the communication between brands and audience should be a mixture of humor and professionalism. Moreover, brands should integrate customer support through the social networks. In other words, provide customer support via the social networking platforms. In addition, brands should take into account that each social networking platforms follow its own rules and communication norms. Consequently, brands should adapt to the communication patterns of each social networking platforms. For instance, it is not advisable for a brand to post its Tweets automatically on Facebook and vice versa. On the hand, on Twitter the user has only 140 characters and the use of hashtags is rather popular. On the other hand, on Facebook there is no character restriction and the use of hashtags is not particularly important. Furthermore, it is rather important to acknowledge that the audience of each social networking platform is different and satisfies different needs in each platform.

Sustainability and consistency: Two concepts that should be taken into consideration:

Sustainability and consistency are other significant factors that brands should take into consideration. Currently, there are many social networking platforms, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, etc. It takes time to create an interactive and eye-catching content that satisfies the needs of all those platforms. Consequently, it is rather advisable to be present in some social networking platforms so that to have enough time to produce a consistent content. In my opinion, consistency will boost engagement and visibility since it gives a good image for the brand.

Measuring brand engagement is rather challenging. There are many social media tools that promise to measure qualitatively and quantitatively brand engagement. A good way to measure the number of “mentions” to conversations relevant to the brand. This may provide an indicator regarding the spread of your message. Furthermore, Facebook pages and Twitter have embedded some engagement measurement tools.

Nowadays, social media strategy consists an important part of the marketing, PR and communication strategy of each brand. Social networking platforms could be a powerful tool to create engagement, raise brand awareness and get visibility. However, the brands should consider their audience and the social media strategy should be in line with the overall marketing strategy of the brand. To sum up, I would like to repeat that the number of followers does not guarantee active engagement.

“Did you know?”

 A video by Economist which highlights the  phenomenon of technological convergence.

New media and technological convergence is a reality. Online and offline coexist. All kinds of information and communication are digitalized so 0 and 1 are not just two digits. I am wondering what kind of digital skills should we develop to cope with the opportunities and challenges of the digital society? In addition, programmers, computer engineers and other IT professionals tend to be the elite of our society since they know how to assemble and encode all this information and communication.

INFORMATION, YOUTH WORK AND WEB 2.0

young ppl sm

Nowadays internet plays a key role in our lives so it is possible to say that the online and the offline environments are highly intertwined. Specifically, young people use the internet for entertainment, socializing and gaining information. It has been observed that young people usually seek for two kind of information, one of them is different types of opportunities in education, employment and training and the other one is “answers” to several types of questions related to psychology, health and sexuality. For instance, young teenagers may look for information about sexually transmitted diseases or how to terminate an unexpected pregnancy, since they feel uneasy to discuss these topics with their peers, parents or school counselors.

Due to the development of web 2.0 applications each one of us can produce and consume information simultaneously. As a result, it gets harder to assess the validity of information found on the internet. In my opinion, the youth information infrastructures in Europe (Eurodesk, ERYICA, Youth Information Centers etc.) and the youth organizations have a really important role in providing high quality information to young people. It is also important to enforce the already existing cooperation between youth information infrastructures and youth organizations.

Moreover, the provision of high quality information is correlated with the active participation of young people online and offline. First, they know that their opinion can be heard and thus contribute to the development of youth policies. Secondly, they become aware of different forms of active participation, especially the structured dialogue and finally young people become strong actors on decision making processes. Cyber bullying is definitely a barrier of the online active participation of the young people; as a result, EU and youth stakeholders should cooperate in the development of infrastructures in the field of online hate speech.

It is obvious that web 2.0 gives us unlimited possibilities to educate young people about several social issues, motivate them to participate online and inform them about opportunities around the world. Personally, I believe that all kind of youth infrastructures should cooperate in order to provide young people with high quality information.

Maria Strati
NM Journalist, YEU International

The article was published on “YEU INTERNATIONAL NEWSMAIL SEPTEMBER 2013”.

Social Networks and Youth

social media and youthSocial networks became an important dimension of our lives, especially if we refer to young people who could be characterized as “digital natives”. Generally speaking, social networks have a strong impact on the way we communicate and interact with each other; consequently they may play a key role in the thematic areas of education, social inclusion, active youth participation, information and employment. As a result, the users of social networks should develop a responsible attitude in the digital arena based on the values of respect, human rights and privacy.

It is more than obvious that the rational use of social networks provides young people a unique opportunity to express their opinions and also exchange views with people from all over the world. As a result, the voice of young people is raised even more which leads to the empowerment of youth organizations. On the other hand, the young people should be careful regarding the content they post, i.e. they should not reveal some details concerning their private lives or make comments that may offense someone.

According to some researches, nowadays employers tend to shape the profile of their future employee by searching him/her on facebook, twitter, linkedin etc. Furthermore, some HR professionals use linkedin even for the recruitment process. As a result, young people should be focused on which kind of information they reveal and also on what they post. It is said that some people got fired and some other did not get a certain job because of their “digital identity”. On the other hand, some people got the “job of their dreams” or a promotion due to the fact they created a professional profile in various social networks and also because they participated in discussions and groups.

To sum up, the rational use of social networks may improve the lives of young people in many areas. However, young people, youth workers, educators and other relevant stakeholders should be educated and get informed on the emerging opportunities and challenges of these social networks.

Maria Strati
YEU Journalist

Source: YEU INTERNATIONAL, NEWSMAIL MARCH

A global social media campaign for an HIV free generation.

The #1Share1Condom campaign intents to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS globally. On behalf of every person who gets involved by sharing an HIV message, Durex will donate a condom to an HIV prevention project. These projects are active in local communities across the world and we are delighted to join forces with them to help achieve an HIV-Free generation.

Find more HERE.

Source: http://www.1share1condom.com/

Useful links:

UNAIDS

Cyprus Family Planning Association