Corporate website trend: From channel to canvas

Summary: Moving ‘from text to active content’ is the third corporate website trend we identified. This post is part of a series of blog posts in which we look at trends for corporate websites.

When companies started to flock to the WWW things were simple. They set up their corporate website, digitialised their content and done. Back then the WWW felt like a channel. Today it has become a canvas. With the proliferation of social media, companies now need to think multi-channel. There is a plethora of services that organisations can use to expand their digital footprint. To make things even more complicated HR, Marketing, Customer Service, External Communication departments and others could all potentially leverage social media channels to address particular business needs creating their own channels. At times this can also lead to confusion for customers and inefficiencies for organisations.

What is clear is that social media channels cannot and must not replace the corporate website. In fact, they complement each other. In the beginning companies were driving their audience towards their social media channels to be able to engage with them in better ways. But soon companies were unnerved by the frequent changes made by behemoth like Facebook or services that came and went like Posterous that was used for content curation. A better way is to leverage the size of existing and successful social media channels and services to reach larger audiences but aggregate the content and to a certain extent activity on the corporate website to drive traffic back to a place that is owned by the company. 

In this series I normally try to highlight good examples of the corporate website trends that we see. In this case I rather start off with a poor example, simply because it’s an easy mistake to make and I have seen it quite often.

Poor integration of social media channels

Poor integration of social media channels on Boeing’s corporate website

Whilst linking to social media is easy, the integration often looks basic at best and irrelevant at worst. Boeing’s corporate website is a particular poor example. On the Media page we see a number of sharing options. It breaks the layout and looks cheap. But the real question is: Does anyone use the sharing functionality?

The ‘Connect with Us’ widget on Boeing’s corporate website is equally challenging. In this particular case the reader is confronted with two FB channels, three Twitter channels. There is no tool tip to understand which channel is what. Luckily, these widgets do not appear on every page of the website!

As mentioned before companies should identify relevant channels to leverage their network and scale. For example, many companies already rely heavily on YouTube to host and distribute content. Procter & Gamble use YouTube primarily for storytelling, Nestle has a separate Investor Relations channel, whilst Deutsche Telekom tries to represent the entire company on YouTube. Another distribution network is Flickr, a photo-sharing website. Deutsche Bank have had a presence on Flickr since 2009 to host its own photos but also link to photos from other Flickr users.  I am yet to find a company that has started hosting all their media assets (e.g. pictures of premises, board members, logos etc.) on Flickr. But maybe it will happen one day. Slideshare is potentially another interesting channel to host for example slides, webcasts of a company’s annual general meetings or other relevant content. BASF has been using Slideshare for the past three years now.

With this proliferation of external channels, the corporate website needs to become a platform to aggregate them. Some companies don’t dare to touch the traditional newsroom and instead create  a separate subsite to aggregate social media content. Here is an example from Lufthansa.

A separate Lufthansa Social Media Newsroom

A separate Lufthansa Social Media Newsroom

But some companies also try to extend the traditional media newsrooms to include the company’s social media channels. Integration efforts vary between simple linking and pulling in content either via API or widgets. SAP uses a hybrid approach and links to social media channels but also displays a Twitter feed. Also, have a look at Microsoft Germany and Pfizer as they try to break down the silo between traditional and social media newsrooms. However, their integrations look cheap and poor breaking the look & feel of the site. Scania Group have done a better job in this case, especially with pulling in photos from Flickr and videos from YouTube.

Incorporating social media channels in a corporate website is a good start to position the corporate website as a platform rather than single channel. But I believe we haven’t seen the most interesting use cases yet. For example, LinkedIn offers a plugin that allows career seekers and other users coming to a company’s website to see who in their LinkedIn network works at that company.

Commonwealth Bank - Using LinkedIn plugin to show who you already know at the bank

Commonwealth Bank – Using LinkedIn plugin to show who you already know at the bank

The Commonwealth Bank is the only organisation I have seen making use of the LinkedIn plugin. Even without checking LinkedIn the plugin already showed me that I have 56 people in my network that could introduce me to employees working at the bank.

Furthermore, I believe that companies should not only look at external social media channels to hook up with their website. Many companies have created communities, enterprise social networks, blogs etc. behind the firewall. Exposing some of that content with as little friction as possible on the corporate website would be a win for transparency for the company and readers.

Given the plethora of social media tools and the value they can potentially add for a company, companies will not get around them easily. If they do extend their digital footprint though, they will need a comprehensive strategy and how to tie them all together. The corporate website can serve as an excellent platform.

This blog post is part of a series of posts in which we delve into the trends for corporate website that we have identified. The series:

  1. From static to real-time information
  2. From text to active content
  3. From channel to canvas
  4. From desktop to mobile
  5. From single source of truth to the provider of different opinions
  6. From destination to platform
  7. From providing information to providing a service
  8. From company centric design to user centric design
  9. From single launch to continuous improvement

© Picture Credit: Sebastiaan ter Burg 

From traditional business to social business

When businesses ask for a social media strategy, what they are often really asking for is: Get me a presence on Facebook, Twitter and the like. The mantra of cultural and organisational change that is required in the social web seems to ring hollow. To be fair, it is not their fault. With a traditional business mindset it is hard to see why a presence on Twitter or Facebook is different from the corporate website. After all, these tools can seem to be just another communication channel.

When I talk to clients about the social web and its impact on businesses, I often use four key concepts. These concepts seem to help to explain the broader implications of social tools and why a mere presence on the social web will have a very limited business impact.

From Transaction to Interaction

Traditional Business - TransactionIn the good old days traditional businesses produced a product or service and the customer bought it. End of transaction. Over the years, they have distanced themselves from their customers. Traditional businesses live in their ivory tower from which they look down on their customers. They introduced call centres to shield themselves from customer complaints. Every so often, they introduce a new product and market it heavily using print and digital channels. Nowadays, they can also be found on Facebook and Twitter talking about their new product. They produce it, the customer buys it. End of transaction.

Social Business - InteractionA social business however, is all about interaction. It sees itself on an equal footing with their customers. Of course, it still wants their money. After all it is a business and not a charity. But a social business listens to what its customers have to say. It is eager to get feedback, both positive and negative. Negative feedback is acknowledged and addressed in an honest and transparent way. It sees it as an opportunity to co-create new products with the help of its customers. A social business operates in public and not from the heights of an ivory tower. A social business does not simply sell products, it sells customer experience.

A customer of Zappos once tweeted that she had ordered shoes for her birthday. A customer representative got in touch with her asking about her order number just to make sure that the shoes would arrive on time for her birthday. You think that is difficult? Not for a social business. It is where its customers are and listens to what they have to say. It is all about interaction and customer experience.

From B2B / B2C to P2P

Traditional Business - B2B:B2CA traditional business has successfully created a wall between its customers and itself. Only particular departments are allowed to interact with the outside world, for example Marketing, HR, Customer Service. The rest of the business is shielded away from any external distraction to ensure employees are productive. Humans work in a traditional business. They have a face, but they can only show the company’s face. Sorry, company policy. Nowadays, traditional businesses have developed their own recruiting platforms. They also have a presence on Facebook, where HR advertise for new vacancies and post recruiting tips. They are really proud of this achievement. The traditional business can connect with potential recruits on Facebook. But actually, when they join they will see that Facebook is blocked. Sorry, company policy.

Social Business - P2PA social business understands that people want to connect with people and not with businesses. If customers are looking for help, they want to talk to a real person, not a company. A social business acknowledges and is proud to employ many smart people not just in HR, Marketing or Customer Service. It employs them, because it trusts them. It wants the world to know about them and enables them to connect to the outside world. That is why social networks are open for everyone and people are still productive. A social business manages by objectives, not by presence.

Mary from the HR department posts new tips on Facebook, and not the HR department. A small but subtle difference. A highly talented engineering graduate asks on Facebook what life is like on an oil rig in the North Sea. Mary has never been on an oil rig, but she knows engineers who have. One engineer answers the question on Facebook, visible for everyone. It is John, not the company. People connect with people, not with companies.

From Gatekeeper to Platform Provider

Traditional Business - GatekeeperA traditional business clenches on to its old powers. It believes it still owns all the connections between customers and partners. If a partner would like to talk to another partner, he needs to go through the company. It manages in order to survive. According to a traditional business, shared knowledge is only worth half as much. Better to control the gates.

Social Business - Platform

A social businessunderstands that today’s technology enables anyone to connect with anyone, whether the business likes it or not. The gates are open. A social business knows if it simply keeps managing connections, it will survive, but if it facilitates connections it will thrive. Hence, it provides a platform for customers and / or partners. It is comfortable letting people discuss the business, its products or completely different matters. It facilitates and does not manage.

Dell, a computer manufacturer runs a Facebook Page about Social Media for Business. Yes, Dell is not in the business of providing social media services. But it uses the group as a platform to stay connected with existing customers and potential customers. Dell provides more value than it can capture (in the beginning). That way, Dell stays in people’s minds. Dell may not always be the best choice, but I bet, the next time a member of the FB page is asked for computer advice by a friend, he will also mention Dell.

From Hierarchy to Network

Traditional Business - HierarchyA traditional business has a rigid top-down communication structure. News from the top is passed down through the ranks of the organisation. The middle management is powerful as it acts as gatekeeper (see above). Open and transparent dialogue between the top and the bottom of the traditional business is difficult if not non-existent. Furthermore, technology provision in traditional businesses have manifested in department silos. Few employees know what other departments or teams are working on. Cross-departmental connections are made in the cafeteria, at the water-cooler or in the smoker’s corner.

Social Business - NetworkContrary to popular belief hierarchy still exists in a social businessbut it is heavily supported by an underlying network. Communication flows are bi-directional and cross-departmental. The middle management has lost its power as gatekeeper and is now functioning as platform provider. It provides a platform for the management and employees to communicate and connect. Employees can see what other teams and departments are working on. Increased visibility leads to better decision-making, improved customer service, superior products and ultimately higher sales. At the same time a social business also acknowledges that people connect with people not just because of work but also interests. Therefore, it encourages employees to form communities of interest or purely social groups. This creates stronger bonds between employees which leads to lower turn-over rates. If an employee does leave, they are more likely to stay in touch with colleagues, not the business. Remember, people connect with people, not with companies. (see P2P concept).

By now, many organisations have or are in the process of implementing a social business platform which enables employees to communicate with the senior management and also across teams and departments. Some of the most advanced and innovative organisations that have adopted this approach can be found in the Social Business Council.

No doubt, more concepts exists. However, I believe many of them are part of the ones I have outlined above, i.e. From Control to Trust (B2B/B2C to P2P; From Transaction to Interaction), From Management to Open Leadership (From B2B/B2C to P2P; From Gatekeeper to Platform), From Employee to Brand Ambassador (From B2B/B2C to P2P; From Transaction to Interaction).

If your social media strategy is all about setting up a social media presence, jump right in. It only takes a couple of minutes to set up accounts. There are gazillions of tips out there telling you how to increase your follower or “Like” counts. However, if your social media strategy is about business impact, you need to go back to basics. Understanding the key concepts and the broad impact of social tools on businesses, will help to deliver value. In the end, that is what business is all about, delivering value!

© Picture Credit: Christoph Schmaltz

From the local village to the global village and back

[ I originally published this post on the Headshift blog in 2009. ]

Over the past decades we have seen the world becoming smaller and smaller thanks to new technologies. Location has almost become irrelevant when it comes to communicating, collaborating and connecting with other people. If I want to see someone in a different place, I fire up the video chat. If I want to stay informed of what family and friends around the world are up to, I call them on the phone or tune into Facebook. If I want to know what people in my network find important at this very minute, I look at Twitter. And even in remote areas I can still stay connected using text messaging. Welcome to the ‘Global Village‘.

And yet, it is the nature of our existence that we are (still) physically bound to a location. Through place and proximity we are all automatically part of another world – the ‘Local Village‘. Unlike back in the days though, we do not necessarily depend on the people living next door. We can perfectly survive without our neighbors thanks to all the modern amenities we are surrounded by. Thus, we may live in a local community but that does not mean that we are an active part of it.

In one of his papers, Marcus Foth makes a great point by saying that “a lot of social encounters are based on serendipity and coincidence“. People meet in the hallway, when walking the dog or during other events. Often, conversations on such occasions are limited to a greeting or meaningless trivia. If you don’t have kids that sit in the same class as your neighbor’s kids or do not attend service at the local church, chances are high that you won’t have much of a connection with people living next door. It is fascinating, and depressing at the same time, that we are much better connected with people that we may not even have met in real life than to our next-door neighbors. Thus, the question becomes how we can re-instill a sense of community and belonging in the ‘local village’ that we seem to have lost over the years. Can we find answers by looking at communities and networks of the ‘global village’?

Unlike a network, a community cannot be created. Both online and offline communities draw people with a shared interest, passion, problem in a specific domain together. Foth points out:

[…] place and proximity are insufficient attributes to attract residents to a community network and to sustain it. […] connectivity per se does not ensure community – and proximity does not ensure neighbourliness.

A great example for solving shared problems is Fix My Street (in the UK), where people report, view, or discuss local problems they’ve found to their local council by simply locating them on a map. The more nagging the problem, the smaller the effort to report it and the bigger the reward, the more successful the system will be. Indeed, the current system is not a proper community. However, one could build a community with profile pages, microblogging functionality, forums, event calendar on top. The site could also become a communication hub not only for the residents but also for the local council to announce news, discuss developments in the neighborhood. Maybe at some point residents will not rely on the council to fix problems but may set up their own initiatives to take things into their own hand and motivate neighbors to help them

Another interesting scenario could be the voting on how parts of the budget of a council are being spent. Councils should involve residents by giving them the opportunity to discuss how much money should go to certain areas and developments in their neighborhood. Not everyone may have time to go to meetings or feel comfortable discussing matters in public. An online platform could considerably extend the reach of offline meetings and inclusion of residents thanks to its convenience.

A third example that is being talked about quite a lot is hyper-local news. People reporting from/about their neighborhood. Robin Hamman, former head of blogging at the BBC and now Headshift colleague, lives in St. Albans (UK) and writes a local blog. By publishing content on the internet, he found other bloggers from St. Albans and they have started meeting offline to discuss among others local matters. He recently wrote a short blog post about it.

Of course, the motivation and means of writing and sustaining a blog might be limited to very few members of a local community. To ensure buy-in from the majority of residents it might be easiest to look for pain points and problems within the local community that people care about. Before one talks about any tools or applications, it is paramount to understand the residents and their needs, backgrounds, computer literacy etc.

That’s what David Barrie does in his proposed high-level project plan for two of his community-building initiatives in Cardiff and Moscow. When I met him about a year ago, we discussed the role social tools could play in bringing residents of different communities together. I am very happy to see his initiative taking shape and will monitor it closely, especially to find out if the different cultures have any considerable impact on strategy, execution and outcome.

The key advice I would give David as he starts the projects is to identify the real motivation and needs of (each) resident of the community during his investigation phase. “Improving flows and exchanges of experiences between people and existing groups” is a noble vision, but unless you have devoted contributors like Robin in you community, the project might be off to a difficult start. I would assume that few people will start blogging or contributing to a wiki to get to know each other better or share experiences. In my opinion there needs to be a direct and easy-to-reach reward or something residents are truly passionate about to get them involved. Identifying that element is paramount. Most of the communication, collaboration and connecting will evolve around solving those problems and will ultimately help to re-instill the sense of a global village into the local village.

Is the concept of blogging scalable?

[ I originally published this post on the Headshift blog in 2009. ]

This blog post was originally published by me on the Headshift blog in 2009.

It seems that there are only two topics people talk about these days . One is the economic turmoil and the other is the microblogging service Twitter. While there is unanimous consent that we are facing one of the worst economic situations after WWII, there is a heated debate going on about the usefulness of Twitter. Some simply love it while others can’t make sense of it viewing it as time-wasting and geeks’ new toy.

Despite the sarcasm of its numerous critics Twitter showed an impressive growth rate of 900% in the last year, and that’s only the usage of Double that traffic comes through the APIs, thus 3rd party applications. Some even suggested that Twitter could go mainstream soon, without actually defining what numbers needed to be reached to justify that statement.

Fact is, microblogging is not simply a super cool form of communication (a la SMS speak of teenagers but for 18+ (average Tweeter is 31!)). It fills a real need for almost realtime communication. If you want to know what people are paying attention to at the moment, you use the Twitter search instead of Google. Next time a plane touches down on the Hudson River make sure you are watching your Twitter stream instead of waiting for images to appear on CNN. So, microblogging will not go away. Twitter could potentially disappear, but at the moment that seems rather unlikely, especially since Pownce (talent) was recently aquired by Six Apart and Google couldn’t figure out how to make Jaiku work and in the end giving the code base to the community.

Let’s assume for a minute that Twitter will continue to grow at a phenomenal rate. You can only speculate on the number of current users, since the founders do not disclose the exact number. Jeremiah Owyang suggested something between 4 – 6 million users, up from 0.5 million in January 08. This would mean at the end of the year we could potentially see a whopping 45 million users on Twitter. (I will hold it like Winston Churchill and advise you that you shouldn’t trust any statistic that you didn’t forge yourself. So, please don’t quote me on this number!)

What I am trying to understand is if microblogging as it stands at the moment is actually scalable, not in terms of technology but behavior and usage. The biggest question mark I have is around the @ messages. Twitter was called superior to Email because you would only receive updates from people you choose to follow. Well, yes and no. This is certainly true for your overall friends update stream and Direct Messages. However, if you haven’t activated the setting ‘show me only @ messages from people I follow’, anyone can send you an @ message. There are people on Twitter that have thousands of followers and I assume they receive hundreds of @ messages. I have no clue how they cope with it, but I believe only few of us would put up with such flurry of messages. And how long will it take until someone creates a bot that listens to specific keywords and sends out @ messages to the people that used those keywords? Imagine you send out three tweets and receive nine spam @ messages. That may not seem severe but I think you get the idea. So, is the @ message functionality doomed once Twitter grows even more popular?

Furthermore, Twitter applications will need to become much smarter to be still practical once it does hit mainstream. For example, I am thinking of the dozens of RTs, which go unfiltered at the moment. Threaded replies (yes, I do have the Greasemonkey script installed, but I am mostly using Tweetdeck) would make life much easier, especially if someone responds to a tweet a day later and you have forgotten about the original tweet. If you have a conversation with two people it would be great to simply reply to the thread and it goes automatically to both recipients. Or would that open the door to spamming and we would see a CC functionality in disguise?

Abuse could become a significant issue for Twitter. We have seen that already happening, when Twitter accounts of high-profile people were hacked and sent out spam messages. Jeremiah Owyang fell vicitm to another spam spoof a couple of days ago, in which supposingly a bot created various Twitter accounts just changing one letter of his account and following thousands of people. Twitter is already plagued with spam followers, which is nothing serious but simply annoying. In the future another nuisance could be that spam twitter accounts are created en masse sending out messages to each other using specific keywords or hashtags. The more there are the more likely it is that the Twitter Search will be polluted with those messages.

Openness can be a blessing and a curse at the same time. I am very curious to see how our behavior and usage will evolve with the growing popularity of microblogging and how technology will cater for those sorts of changes. Maybe I am just overly concerned and microblogging does scale. That’s for you to decide. I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts.

Oh, and I am @christoph by the way.

social business

Manage, and you may survive! Facilitate, and you may thrive!

I originally published this post on the Headshift blog in 2009. ]

Recently I went to see an organization, and a good while into a very pleasant conversation I was asked: ‘Will we (organization) become obsolete in ten years’? What a daunting question! What had happened?

The organization has about 1000 member companies. It offers a variety of services and stages events frequently. After I had met one of the employees I was invited to one of their events at the rather exclusive University Club here in NYC. The person introduced me to a number of members at the event (after all networking is a key part of such events). Yet, I had the strong feeling that I missed opportunities, simply because I relied on the knowledge of one person and random conversations limiting the ‘ROI’ of my time investment. So I wrote a long email to my contact at the organization with some ideas on how do address this particular issue (among others).

In the email and subsequent conversation I made the case that the value of the offline networking events could be increased considerably by developing an online platform with a business networking component for members at its heart. At the moment the organization publishes an attendee roster prior to every event, which lists only the names and companies of attendees. While key employees of the organization have built up an impressive wealth of knowledge about members, members themselves don’t know the faces, roles, interests, or connections of other members making it very hard for them to effectively network on their own. It’s not too difficult to imagine why the organization considers that knowledge as one of their key assets and where they believe can add even more value to the membership. And yet, I suggested the unthinkable: ‘Open up! Make the knowledge about the network and all its members visible to members (companies). Let them explore the network, connect and interact with each other! Don’t be the guardian or bottle-neck as a matter of fact. Members know best what is good for and relevant to them. You may assume that you know, but let’s face it, you don’t!’

And that’s when the question came up: ‘Will we (organization) become obsolete in ten years’? Apart from being daunting to answer, I also thought that this was a rather courageous question. I believe few businesses (industries) ask(ed) themselves this question, and even fewer face a sometimes cruel reality. Most of them live in total denial. (CLAY SHIRKY).

For a long time people and organizations that had a quasi-monopoly on knowledge or products crippled progress and innovation and still capitalized on it. You can look at enterprise systems, which locked organizations into to the dungeon of one vendor. Media outlets had a monopoly on producing content and charging for it. Key people in organizations had a monopoly on knowledge, making them indispensable. All of them were at the center of their respective environment. Their exposed position allowed them to control the terms and conditions on how their knowledge or products were used.

But with the advent of social tools these monopolies are coming to an end. We are now witnessing an ever increasing connected world where we don’t have one huge nucleus but rather dispersed nodes. Gone are the days of locked-down systems and walled gardens. ‘Control’ might have been a valid notion in the past, but the only way to stay relevant now is to open up and interact with your environment. To a large extent ‘control’ is replaced by ‘facilitation’. That’s the quintessence! You provide a platform and let other people built on top of your applications (e.g. Facebook (partially), Twitter, Confluence), interact with your content (e.g. NYT, Guardian) or connect with each other (e.g. …. ). Other examples of facilitation can be found in the Obama campaign, Twestival and knowledge management. The Obama campaign and Twestival are great examples, where people were given a vision and tools to achieve a goal. How they did it was up to them. The same holds true for knowledge management. The days of central knowledge repositories, gate-keepers and knowledge managers in its true sense are over. Get out of the way! Open up the silos! Give people a platform on which they can connect with each other based on what is relevant and important to them. Facilitate, don’t manage! If you simply continue managing, your organization may loose on business opportunities.

So, wrapping up all these thoughts, my answer was something along these lines. ‘It depends. Fortunately, your core business is not necessarily based on networking. However, it is an important part. If you keep the status quo, chances are that sooner or later members will realize that the current practice is ineffective and they are missing out on business opportunities. They may use LinkedIn at home or know of other organizations in town that offer an online platform to its members as an added value. They may demand something similar or cancel their membership in worst case. Another drawback to keep in mind is that if you left the organization, there would be no one to replace you easily, as you hold all the knowledge about the members and connections. If you don’t move at all, you most certainly will become obsolete in ten years, simply because other organizations will size the opportunity.

If you set up a platform to provide online networking among your members, you will still play a role, not as a manager but as a facilitator. It is an additional value that you give your members. If they realize the value they will spread the word across their network, which could result in new members. Your key asset may not be the knowledge about the members anymore, because it is accessible to all members; it will actually be the members themselves. In that sense you will play an even more important role in ten years than you may do now.’

Obviously, it does not have to be one or the other. A healthy option would be somewhere around the center but tending towards opening the organization’s knowledge. As mentioned before, I would see the networking component at the heart of the system. Around it you could imagine the organization providing more relevant news and content to its members based on the information available and their activities on the platform. Other ideas could be the live-broadcast of member-only events, invitation of a guests (from member companies), better membership management.

EU blogging on the rise?

[ I originally published this post on the Headshift blog in 2007. ]

Earlier this week Mariann Fischer Boel, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development entered the blogosphere. Welcome, Mariann! As far as I know, is she the second high-ranked person at the EU who blogs.

She is following the good example of Margot Wallström, Commissioner for Institutional Relations and Communication who has been blogging for the last two years. In an interview with a German news magazine M. Wallström explained her main motivation for blogging:

‘It makes us inhabitants of Planet Brussels more human […] it is important not only to inform people, but also to listen to them.’

Well, I am wondering to what extent she actually listens to the people that leave comments on her blog. By browsing through the comments one gets the impression that the blog is in fact a playground for notorious bellyacher who just want to dump their frustration concerning the EU. No, I am not suggesting that everyone should favour the EU nor its activities, but if they do have something to say, at least one could expect them contributing in a constructive manner. Too often, interesting discussions are carried away by non-relevant comments and complaints smashing the original idea of blogging – to engage in conversation and dialog.

And yet, Margot Wallström keeps blogging and Mariann Fischer Boel has just started. I sincerely hope that other civil servants at the EU will follow them soon and start talking about their lives and share their ideas and views on the EU.