It always seems that, as Christmas break draws nearer, all conference organisers decide to set up event after event, just to make sure we end the year spending more time in the lobbies of Brussels hotels than at our office desk (or any other useful place, for that matter)…Could it be that it is to remind us why we are called “lobbyists”? If that’s the case, could we please rename the profession to “beddists” (not buddhists) so that we can spend the cold winter months in bed?
ECTA Conference on the wonders of regulation and competition in the telecoms sector, Data Protection conference on why it is important for Europe and its Member States to protect our privacy, Data Retention conference on why it is important for Europe and its Member States to make private companies store lots of stuff in case they feel like breaching our privacy, Ecommerce Conference to explain the wonders an online single market could bring to our economy if only there was one (well, a functioning one)…all of that bundled in one week.
And you know the sad part: at none of these events did I hear (when I attended with my brain on) or read (when someone was kind enough to spare me the need to participate by sending me notes) anything new…nothing…zippo…nada. Europe talks about innovation ad nauseam but why can’t it’s policy makers try to be innovative? OK, that may be asking a bit much so let’s be slightly less ambitious: how come on issues like telecoms, ecommerce, data privacy and data retention we find ourselves listening to the “solutions & views” of 5 different DG’s? Wouldn’t you expect policy-making on a rather “big thing” like the online ecosystem (buzzword alert but needed to place it somewhere after hearing it a zillion times) to be slightly more…centralised? well-thought? coherent? Oh, and while we’re at it: I am not sure that rules should be different online and offline. I actually am pretty sure of the contrary except for one major aspect: applicable law. But that is something I leave for my musings on Lobbynomics, as this blog must remain my place to rant!Read More
I had the pleasure of being invited to participate in a panel at the Centre-Edelman, in relation to the launch of their new study “The 2010 Capital Staffers Index“, which looks at the use of social media and more traditional lobbying means (e.g. writing letters, face-to-face meetings) and how they are perceived by the assistants of MPs and MEPs in the US, at the European Parliament, and in France, Germany and the UK.
I must admit that the results were not entirely surprising, except maybe for the continued attachment by French MPs to handwritten letters….I mean come one: is that a paper or a pen lobby going on?
Everyone of us seemed to be on the same wavelength on most issues except, funnily, the fact that both Stephen and Judith disagreed with my perception that Twitter was “time-saving”. It is funny in a way that the general agreement in society at this stage still seems to be that social media induces procrastination (which is true) and this makes you waste time (which, to me, is not true). Though I know the image people have of lobbyists is that of mercenaries cruising the corridors of Parliament to convince naïve politicians with a 15 minute elevator pitch, that makes up, quite frankly, for only 20% of my time (and, by the way, they’re not that naïve). The remaining 80% are split between a lovely 5% allocated to bookkeeping and various fascinating reporting activities to clients and 75% of getting to grips with the issues that I have to advocate on. For that portion of my time, Twitter is just an extraordinary source of relevant information. Yes, it is time consuming but then doing random keyword searches and clicking on non-relevant links is even more so.
So I stand by statement that social media can be a time-saver if used well (and truly: use two screens, it will save your life)! And, by the way, procrastination is sometimes a good way to regain a form of sanity so even there, there are hidden benefits.Read More
It’s funny how once you start blogging (even if I am the first to admit that I am a very sporadic blogger), the limits you have set yourself in terms of blogging initially soon start to become burdensome.
Now in all fairness, I put very few limits on myself when I started blogging on LobbyPlanet, except for the fact that each of my posts should remain (1) light and possibly funny (2) about my job as a lobbyists but not about the dossiers I deal with.
Not too constraining you would think…except it’s very difficult not to feel that tingling to write about a subject you are working and breathing most of your waking hours about..and yes you work on it for clients but also because you happen to be interested in that matter…or worse, care about a dossier (I know, caring and lobbyists without a chequebook involved seems extremely counter-intuitive to most).
So to make a long story short, I have decided to launch a second blog in parallel to this one, that talks about the subject matters I deal with on a daily basis, i.e. the wonderful world of the Internet and telecoms.
Yet again, I have set myself the following limits: (1) funny might be aiming too high but let’s try to at least not be depressing (2) if it’s not thought provocative, I shouldn’t write about it (3) being unbiased is a fallacy, as I am clearly biased by the fact that I am a woman, mother of three, rather a dog person than a cat person, born and raised and Africa, thankful for the fact that we live in a free and democratic society in Europe, lover of the early Internet without necessarily grasping on to the past, etc.
As to why it’s called Lobbynomics? Go find the explanation here.Read More