Friday 23 July 2010

Opening Up My Euroblogging: Language and Linking

I've been inspired by Mathew Lowry and Ralf Grahn to open up my Euroblogging and to try and reach out a bit more across the blogosphere(s).

The debate on the French Euroblogosphere (see Europasionaria) prompted Grahnlaw to introduce a policy on languages and comments on his blog - Ralf wants to promote greater connections by having a greater number of "commenting" languages available. Cracking open the linguistic barriers is one of the greatest obstacles to growing and connecting the Euroblogosphere and it's a great initiative to have to start welcoming more comments and debate in different languages. So I'm going to do the same for my blog. My linguistic ability only really extends to German (with a smattering of very, very basic French), so I will also rely on machine translation to help with responding.

Another side to this is commenting on other Euroblogs in different languages. Machine translation will be my (contrary) companion here, as the German Euroblogosphere seems to be very small. I'm not sure how bloggers will react to having strangely worded comments marring their blogs, but I'll try and bluster my way through. I have been following some non-English Euroblogs, though the number is quite small - hopefully by diving deeper across linguistic barriers will unearth some blogging treasures.

Finally, I need to start reaching out across national barriers (the second great divide that afflicts the Euroblogosphere). Earlier this week I wrote a mini-series on the Northern Irish MEPs, and I tried to make it neutral (given the divide in NI) and I tried to provide a context for those who aren't as familiar with the European Parliament. As far as I can tell, no Northern Ireland-based blogger picked up on what I wrote. Now this is fair enough - my writing style is a bit drawn-out and slightly academic (tips on how to blog better are welcome in the comments, by the way) - but there is no real debate on the NI MEPs in the NI blogosphere between elections, as far as I can tell.

This post is mainly about me trying to push myself to blog better and to cross barriers that I haven't found the time to in the past (I find blogging time-consuming, and comments take up time = particularly if you want to comment on several blogs). I haven't commented on NI, Irish and UK blogs that much, so I haven't been developing those relations between the blogospheres. It can be hard to know when to "speak", in that Europolitics rarely crops up in the NI blogosphere (though I've undoubtedly missed opportunities). So the lesson for me is: make more comments.

Mathew Lowry's post on making bridges and specialist bloggers in the Euroblogosphere makes me think there are 3 things the Euroblogosphere needs to do:

1. Grow! is up to 630 Euroblogs, so the Euroblogosphere is already growing quickly. New Eurobloggers are needed to replace those, like Julian Frisch, who have dropped out. A bigger Euroblogosphere will be better placed to make the connections between languages and national Blogospheres and support and encourage the growth of specialist Eurobloggers.

2. Reach out between linguistic barriers by commenting. This will help broaden debate and increase the impact of everyone's posts - after all, on European topics, if they're interesting, they deserve to be discussed across the Euroblogosphere.

3. Reach out across national Blogosphere lines (in my case, NI, Ireland and the UK). This will widen the debates and increase the influence of Euroblogging (and hopefully spur a greater interest in European politics (both in itself and in holding MEPs, etc. to account).

It may be a bad time for me to commit to this (I'll be a bit quite over the next few weeks), but I'll try to work at it and make it part of my routine.

And apologies to everyone who doesn't blog (but you should try(!)) and is a bit tired of the self-referential Euroblogging of the past few weeks!


  1. I also have new year resolutions. They are mainly similar to yours: reaching out to national bloggers and non-English-speaking Euroblogs, building bridges...

    But I'm also planning on starting to blog about different things than Europe because if we only blog about Europe, then there's a chance we only attract people who are already interested in Europe... the world is bigger. From now on I'll blog about whatever comes to my mind and is worth spending a little time blogging about.

  2. I completely agree. With the internet, people only look at what they're interested in, so we should write more broadly about Europe (lifestyles, etc.).

    I'll probably try a bit of that myself (though I feel the style of my blogging will limit that a bit). Good luck with it - I'll be reading!