On Tuesday, 14th of July 2015 GERB/EPP MEP Eva Paunova was a speaker at Facebook’s annual conference in London, UK, launching the results of ‘Soft Power 30‘ – the most comprehensive global study examining the relationship between social media and politics. The study ranks its 30 participating countries by the international diplomatic and cultural influence they wield, in fields such as education, digital technologies, enterprise and governance.
In her speech Ms Paunova highlighted social media’s significant impact on her work as a representative, claiming that by introducing previously unavailable feedback channels, it has turned diplomacy from a ‘monologue into a dialogue’. Popular platforms such as Facebook and Twitter allow politicians to communicate their priorities and foster a culture of transparency and accountability, as well as engaging groups that they would otherwise have no direct contact with. The role of social media in facilitating ‘direct democracy’ will continue to grow exponentially, according to the Bulgarian MEP.
The London event brought together a number of experts from the public and private sectors, along with diplomats and journalists. Notable delegates included the US Ambassador to the United Kingdom Matthew Barzun, NATO’s Director of Policy Planning Fabrice Pothier and FT senior correspondent Gideon Rachman. Attending were also Facebook’s EMEA Vice-President Nicola Mendelson and Government and Politics Specialist Elizabeth Linder.