A new generation of MEPs has come on board over the past few years, bringing together with them new ideas and ways of doing things.
Pablo Zalba Bidegain is one of them. He is only 40 years old yet he already has an illustrious business and political career, currently acting as Member of the European Parliament and Vice-Chair on the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs. In 2012 he was named MEP of the Year in the category of commerce for his work on the EU-Korea FTA.
He is one of the MEPs that has realised that, with youth unemployment still persistently high across Europe (and over 51% in Spain), it is essential to promote entrepreneurship, innovation and skills to pull young people out of the crisis. He is part of the EU40 network of MEPs under 40 and also acts as coordinator of the Young Members Network, Vice-President of SME Europe and member of the advisory board of the European Young Innovation Forum, among many other organisations.
It is therefore only natural that social media plays a key role to support his efforts to connect with European youth networks and Spanish constituents. With an active presence on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, Youtube, Foursquare, Slideshare, Tuenti, Instagram and Flickr, Pablo Zalba is one of the most connected MEPs today.
We caught up with Pablo at a recent European Voice event and asked him how social media complements his work at the European Parliament.
Q. You are present on numerous social media channels and you also manage a blog… Which is the most important for you and why?
All of them are important, they target they are focusing is different. However personally I really enjoy Twitter and Instagram.
Q. On Twitter you have almost 4700 followers and a strong social authority ranking of 59/100… Do you always tweet, post and respond yourself? Is it a challenge to keep up?
Absolutely, I always answer myself, I try to give a response to everyone even those less polite.
Q. Do you distinguish your communications between local/national audiences and EU audiences? If so, how?
Yes, I distinguish, I use Spanish and English. I discuss about EU affairs but also on local, national or personal issues and employ one of the two languages depending on the case.
One of your followers is Pablo Iglesias… In a short time he has gathered almost 800,000 followers on Twitter — even more than Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. How can we learn from the use of social media by a grassroots parties like Podemos?
Everyone can learn from everyone. Social networks are important, and relevant nowadays. However we can´t get obsessed about them. For me they are “tools” but not “the tool”. Here again the key is media mix.