First debate: Juncker vs Schulz – who’s more talked about on social media?

(C) Berlaymonster

(C) Berlaymonster

The first of a series of TV debates between candidates for the job of European Commission president took place on 9 April 2014 on France 24, an international news television channel based in Paris.

A brief infographic, with data collected by me 4 hours after the debate shows that, although the absolute figures are higher for Schulz, Juncker seems to grow faster in terms of social mentions, increase in Twitter followership and Facebook fans, after the debate (updated 10 April, 8am/looking forward to your analyses and feedback):
Hashtags most frequently used: #eudebate (also used for Nick vs Nigel debate in the UK) and #ep2014. Alongside these general hashtags, EPP also used the campaign hashtag #withJuncker. PES militants used the campaign hashtag #knockthevote, but also #epduel and #nowschulz, created especially for this TV debate, and adopted quite quickly by the community:

All the EPP language accounts were active on Twitter during the debate, confirming a proactive digital strategy of “going out to people” (James Kanter quotes two EPP community managers in a New York Times article). Even @JunckerEU staff sent a modified tweet from one of the language accounts during the debate, but this MT later disappeared from the stream leaving only 2 “behind the scenes” pics.

EPP Twitter Campaign did not hesitate to attack Schulz (here and here) and even announced what for them was the victory of their candidate, after the debate:


The 40 minute session, moderated by Caroline de Camaret (France 24) and Dominique Baillard (RFI) showed hardly any contrast in the polite style of pro-European consensus of the two candidates.

Asked what latitude and attitude will you have as president of the Commission to make it less distant and less bureaucratic?

…Juncker answered: Europe should not take care of everything, but of the major issues; it should not interfere in the daily lives of Europeans, but focus more on policies for growth and on employment. We must mobilize all possible policies to reduce unemployment.

…Schulz answered: We should open the doors, make visible and audible what is happening here, we have to make public who does what and on what basis; involve the citizens in the decision making process. I will write a letter to Commission officials: think no more about how you could intervene into every corner of the EU, but about what could better be done locally instead of centrally. Critical dimensions for the Commission: climate change, digital technology, and fight against youth unemployment.

So what did you think? Video available here.

Other articles on the same topic:

  • Martin Schulz is the most “tweeted about” EU leader (European Voice, 20 March 2014)
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Posted in EP2014, EU affairs, Social Media

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