Selfies of and with EU leaders



You already know. Selfie is the word of the year 2013.

I looked at the various social media profiles of EU leaders (lists here) and also searched the web for selfies of EU leaders that others might have published. Check out the Pinterest board below to see what I’ve found. Do you know any other good selfies? Comment below!

The selfie has clearly conquered EU politics as well, with EU politicians being either actors or objects of it. This is of course only “one of many manifestations of the rise in self-publishing of all kinds of information and images”.

When EU leaders are actors of the selfie:

- Individual selfies of EU leaders are rare and hard to distinguish from a classical portrait photo or a video message that leaders’ communication teams are used to publishing (the up-close-and-personal format of a selfie is often chosen to make the message seem more personal, like in the video selfie of the New Year’s Eve wishes of the Belgian Prime Minister Elio di Rupo).

- Group selfies are predominant: selfies with celebrities (for instance Estonian Prime minister Taavi Roivas with Estonian writer Ivan Orava, British PM Cameron with a famous Chinese entrepreneur…), selfies with the family (Estonian and Romanian PM pose with their respective daughters), selfies with colleagues/partners (in the government meeting, at the Eurogroup, etc.).

- In this category you have also the selfies you’ll never see, but of which you see meta-selfies (like the selfie at Mandela’s funeral of Danish PM, British PM and US President or the selfie by Viviane Reding, Jose Manuel Barroso and Maros Sefcovic).

When EU leaders are objects of the selfie:

Mere bystanders of other people’s selfies, they become the extraordinary situation justifying a selfie for the man on the street. Here the examples are numerous (and you’ll see several on my Pinterest board): German chancellor visiting a school, Swedish PM in a TV interview, Greek PM with a beautiful woman dentist… Whether this has positive spillover effects on their popularity remains to be seen.

Sometimes the selfie frenzy is used as a more advanced instrument for political communication. Recently the Austrian Chancellor (asking people to send a picture of themselves and a reason to vote in the EP2014 elections) and the SelfEU competition by Guy Verhofstadt’s campaign try to surf on the selfie wave. Selfies tend to put people in documentation mode, so these selfie uses might just be… meanigful.

So what do you think? What will be the word of 2014? Selfitis maybe? :-)

Read more:
- Blog post on EU visual communication @ Europedecides
- How politicians killed the selfie @ Buzzfeed

Browse through some selfies by EU politicians in Wiktor Dabkowski’s studio.

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Posted in EP2014, EU affairs, Social Media

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