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The tweet content of the three account holders, namely Social Europe, EURes and Commissioner Andor, was in nine languages. About 96% of the content was in English, followed by Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, German, Hungarian (Commissioner’s mother tongue), Croatian and Latvian (Figure 1).
With about 96% of the content in English the three account holders are officially not in compliance with the Commission policy on multilingualism. The policy emphasises the access to key content in all the EU official languages to enable citizens to understand policy outcomes in their mother tongue. The account administrators stated that, for a number of reasons, they could not equally communicate content in all the 23 EU official languages (in 2012). One of the main reasons is that the Commission works in three languages (English, French, German) and the content is produced in English, in the first stage, for practical reasons. Another reason is the level of human resources to manage multilingual content. Unlike the Commission, the European Parliament has a large team of editors and social media managers covering all the EU official languages.
Certain languages (Figure 1) were used in relation to some national events or official visits performed by the Commissioner. The tweets in those languages were localised (translated) either by the EURes team and its national counterparts or by European Commission’s representations in the respective countries.
A hashtag should be self-relevant and notable, to enable people easily remember it. The hashtags were used to mark and classify certain pieces of tweet content. They were processed to extract information on hashtag volume, occurrences and most used hashtags. The extracted information was triangulated with other information categories that are described in the forthcoming articles, when establishing the trending topics of the Twitter communications managed by the three account holders. Figure 2 pictures the hashtags of the three unified tweet corpora, namely of Social Europe, EURes and Commissioner Andor.
Hashtag volume and occurrences: User overview vs. total
Figure 3 pictures the hashtag volume (the set of hashtags included in the tweet bodies, each hashtag being counted once) and the hashtag occurrence. It means that certain hashtags were used multiple times to tag content and classify it in a hashtag category, therefore making it searchable, visible and well-contextualised when other readers looked for it.
The highest occurrence rate was recorded by EURes by multiplying its own hashtags by 4.6, followed by Commissioner Andor by 4.4 and Social Europe by 4.3 while the average use of all hashtags was 4.4 higher. It is worth mentioning that Social Europe is the highest with 58% of the total hashtag volume, followed by Commissioner Andor with 23% and EURes with 19%.
The results on hashtag volume and occurrences prove a professional and efficient approach to hashtagging content on Twitter, even though for certain time periods hashtagging was inconsistent, mainly in the case of EURes, which was confirmed in the interview. It is also worth noting that, shortly before 2012, the three account holders began communications on Twitter and therefore needed time to understand how the platform works and its novelties.
Ranking of most used hashtags (#)
- #EY2012 (245 occurrences)
The most popular topic generated by the three account holders on Twitter in 2012 was the 2012 European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations. DG EMPL and national bodies managed the European Year as a pan-European project. The shared management approach may explain the popularity of the topic following the interest of Twitter followers to promote projects, events and other activities managed under the 2012 European Year umbrella.
- #Jobs4Europe (231 occurrences)
Jobs 4 Europe was the Employment Policy Conference held in Brussels on 6-7.09.2012. The conference focused on the Employment Package, employment policy, the functioning of European labour markets, wage developments, flexicurity and inequalities. Key European public figures as well as experts and policy makers attended the event, which was organised by DG EMPL.
- #EJD (150 occurrences)
European Job Days (EJD) was a set of recruitment events that brought jobseekers and employers together in some hundred events all over Europe in 2012. The events were jointly organised by EURes and national authorities and encouraged workers’ mobility throughout the European Union by attempting to match the right candidates to the right jobs.
- #YouthEmpl (136 occurrences)
This was the hashtag used to promote the Twitter Chat with Commissioner Andor on 7 December 2012 (between 14:15 and 15:00). Becoming very popular, the hashtag was used to tag content covering any references to youth employment.
- #EOJD (97 occurrences)
This is the online version of the EJD event, which took place in face-to-face settings. The organisers made European Job Days accessible to as many people as possible by creating an online version, The European Online Job Days, to enable employers and jobseekers to meet online.
- #EU (88 occurrences)
- This is the hashtag for the European Union (EU).
- #EURes (81 occurrences)
EURes is one of the Twitter account holders, which is a subject of this research project. EURES (EURopean Employment Services) is a free service for both jobseekers and employers, a network composed of public employment services. Trade unions and employer organisations also participate as partners. EURes encourages the free movement of workers within 31 countries (27 EU countries in 2012, plus Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Switzerland).
- #EmplPackage (80 occurrences)
Employment Package, which launched in April 2012, is a set of policy documents, which establishes a cross-policy approach. It supports job creation in EU countries and makes labour markets more dynamic.
- #poverty12 (75 occurrences)
This hashtag was created to tag the Second Annual Convention of the Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion, a high level event that took place in Brussels, between 5 and 7 December 2012. The Platform is one of the Europe 2020 leading initiatives, which comprise actions on reducing the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion by at least 20 million by 2020. The purpose of the Convention was to review the progress in this regard and provide recommendations, comments and suggestions for consultation on the Social Investment Package.
- #ageing (63 occurrences)
This is one of the hashtags used to tag content covering the 2012 European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations. EY2012 is the most popular hashtag related to the European Year and it came in the first position on this list.
The remaining hashtags will be discussed in the forthcoming articles, when analysing the tweet corpora and establishing the trending topics of the Twitter communications managed by DG EMPL and EU Commissioner Andor in 2012.
 Flexicurity is a term that combines flexibility and security to express a well-being social prototype that implies a pro-active labour market policy.