Over the last decade European citizens have gained a digital voice. Close to 350 million people in Europe currently use social networking sites, with more of us signing into a social media platform at least once a day than voted in the last European elections. EU citizens have transferred many aspects of their lives onto these social media platforms, including politics and activism. Taken together, social media represent a new digital commons where people join their social and political lives to those around them.
In this interview, Jamie Bartlett, Demos, Vox Digitas examines the potential of listening to these digital voices on Twitter, and the consequences for how EU leaders apprehend, respond to and thereby represent their citizens. Bartlett looks at how European citizens use Twitter to discuss issues related to the EU and how their digital attitudes and views evolve in response to political and economic crises. Bartlett also addresses the many formidable challenges that this new method faces: how far it can be trusted, when it can be used, the value such use could bring and how its use can be publicly acceptable and ethical.