digital diplomacy

The U.S. embassy in Beijing...broadcasts its readings via an iPhone app and through Twitter, which is blocked inside China but can be accessed by tech-savvy Chinese who...circumvent the country’s Web censorship system...As a result, many Beijingers are becoming increasingly aware that the embassy’s readings often contradict those from Beijing’s environmental bureau...

Digital diplomacy... has been made possible by the adoption, within diplomatic institutions and government more generally, of digitally-based systems of data creation, transmission and storage using the Internet, social media platforms, computers, and a variety of wireless electronic devices.

India's success with IT brought the world to India. Now India is using IT to help bring other countries to the world.

Now lay practitioners of hasbara, or public outreach, are joining the ranks of the digital diplomats. The latest video making the rounds to illustrate Israel's position is "Israel Wants Peace - Friend Request Pending" (above). We're in a Facebook era, "like" it or not. Not everyone will agree with the video's message but most will understand its language.

The challenges posed by the new media landscape...will likely take years to fully comprehend. But as the contours of the role of social media in the Arab Spring and elsewhere begin to take shape in the academic and policy-making arenas, everyone seems to agree on one point: The revolution is far from over.

In fact, the State Department regularly uses nine different foreign language Twitter accounts, with more likely on the way. Ross tells TIME magazine that these new technologies give diplomats tools to exert "smart power" in advancing their interests.

The Public Diplomacy Division of the Ministry of External Affairs has actively embraced Web 2.0 tools so that it can engage with the widest cross-section of people in India and the around the world. We have also found social media a powerful medium to expand our outreach amongst younger audiences

September 2, 2011

Over the past two years, Ross, 39, has been incorporating those digital platforms into the daily lives of U.S. diplomats. Dozens of U.S. ambassadors around the world now use Facebook and Twitter, and the State Department boasts nine foreign-language Twitter accounts. These technologies, Ross argues, give the U.S. a new suite of tools for exerting "smart power" to advance its interests.

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