Title: Joining the online video conversation? Discourse and practices of European political institutions and politicians on YouTube
Authors: Patrícia Dias Da Silva
Addresses: Escola Superior de Comunicação Social, Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa, Campus de Benfica do IPL, 1549-014 Lisboa, Portugal
Abstract: To mimic the online practices of citizens has been declared an imperative to improve communication and extend participation. This paper seeks to contribute to the understanding of how European discourses praising online video as a communication tool have been translated into actual practices by politicians, governments and organisations. By contrasting official documents with YouTube activity, it is argued that new opportunities for European political communication are far from being fully embraced, much akin to the early years of websites. The main choice has been to use YouTube channels fundamentally for distribution and archiving, thus neglecting its social media features. The disabling of comments by many heads of state and prime ministers - and, in 2010, the European Commission - indicates such an attitude. The few attempts made to foster citizen engagement, in particular during elections, have had limited success, given low participation numbers and lack of argument exchange.
Keywords: online conversations; online videos; YouTube; European Commission; European Union; online participation; e-democracy; electronic democracy; EUTube; social media; public policy; European politicians; political communication; citizen engagement.
International Journal of Electronic Governance, 2013 Vol.6 No.4, pp.281 - 301
Received: 10 Jul 2013
Accepted: 23 Jan 2014
Published online: 23 Apr 2014 *