I wasn't at that meeting (but work in the building). Who talked about Twitter (and social media or web 2.0) on behalf of DG COMM? I am not aware of ANY discussion there and other departments like ours are desperately asking for it.
Telling that officials are "even encouraged" to use Twitter means that the person didn't know he/she was talking about.
When I/we had reacted 14 years ago in the same way when we started the web in the Commission there would not have been an Europa server. We would still be handing out the Official Journal on paper (6 weeks after the Commission decision).
So to put the facts straight: DG RELEX and 6 others in the European Commission have started to Twitter. I am compiling an overview at http://ec.europa.eu/external_relations/twitter/index_en.htm. If you know of any, please mail me!
We twitter our news that can be found as well on our website. I haven't been engaged through that way in a discussion or something similar.
We are also preparing a mobile platform version (PDA, Blackberry, iPhone) of our newspages.
By the way, most of us in the Commission do inform or communicate with (specialised) stakeholders most of the time. To reach the "people of Europe" is something that I believe is up to the politicians in the member countries.
Kathryn. After a somewhat sceptical start on Twitter I've grown to like it and learned to use it both sparingly and stratigically: BNO is a particularly good feature; being able to follow some thought leaders has made them accessible; coming up occasionally with my own "gems" has gained me followers and I have also some friends who've done business as a result of being picked up on twitter.
It's probably not everybody's cup of tea, but then some people prefer coffee! However, after it's role in the recent upheaval in Iran, it's strange to hear a leading communicator at the EU say it is idiotic. Methinks he has missed something...!