The countries in the European Union may all be located in Europe, but they are not all on the same page when it comes to language. Imagine having members that speak 23 various languages gathered in one place. What a diverse group of people, not to mention a tangled jumble of languages. The ability for the members of the EU to come together and discuss critical issues taking place in and around the country becomes harder with no universal language. Nicola, our speaker at the EU deals directly with the communication that takes place between and among the counsel members. As the director of communication he called to my attention that just because all the members are part of the European Union, the representatives for various topics are not always able to speak in one universal language.
English and French are the two required languages for the EU ambassadors. However, speaking and listening to a language that is not your native language can still be difficult. Today we were surrounded by translation booths, where translators work diligently to keep the constant flow of information going in a language that is understood, the native language. With the media’s attention focused heavily on the Council it is important that a focus is placed on language and communication and the translation of each language into the proper form of communication. Another thing making the communication difficult is the rotation of the presidency. Every six months a new country takes the seat as the president. So a new accent, and new set of language barriers must be overcome.
Since the beginning of this trip it has been apparent that social media is not as large in Europe as it is at home in the US. Many of the larger organizations are not using social media in the same capacity as American company’s and organizations. Nicola, stated that he himself was not even sure the purpose of social media, however the EU is making strides to become more knowledgable about its use and how it can aid them. However, he did state that they remain active on Twitter with the intentions of engaging and responding to their followers. In my opinion this is a good start! No one likes a non responsive Twitter.
The strategic use of social media has been placed in the hands of one individual recently hired for the purpose of perfecting the current social media platforms being used. Currently, the EU is using seven different social media platforms to stay connected and engage with the public. Some of the sites they currently use include, facebook, Twitter, flicker, and Youtube. After viewing their sites, I can easily say there is room for improvement. Improvements may not come easily, with the issue of language barriers and only having the sites content in English. The visit today, showed that there are many issues the leaders must of the EU must face in addition to the issues being addressed in their meetings. Language, something we take for granted, can cause misunderstandings and conflict if not handled correctly. This is why understanding communication and the differences in poses for individuals is so important.