Digital Diplomacy is the new radio. Ever since politicians figured out that they could speak directly to ‘the masses’, we have had the phenomenon of public diplomacy. It became possible, via radio, to speak directly to people without having to go through official government channels. In the early 20th century, the Nazis and the Bolsheviks effectively used the radio to stoke revolutions in neighbouring countries.
Beijing’s diplomats have been remarkably quiet after the election of Donald Trump, even though the president-elect has signaled his administration will pursue policies fundamentally disadvantageous to China.
In politics, words matter. [...] But with a growing number of national governments using Twitter to communicate, a head of state can signal a major policy shift in a mere 140 characters. President-elect Donald Trump's use of Twitter has been a case study in how a short message by an influential figure can potentially change the global landscape.
Building the systems and structures to manage that, particularly in managing a potentially messy and dangerous confrontation in the Baltic states or South China Sea, is going to be a challenge. Other more subtle forms of communication -- unacknowledged direct telephone calls, messages delivered through spies, envoys and allies -- have also not gone away. But they will now be taking place at the same time as what could be frantic social media changes.
External Affairs Ministry has emerged as one of the top central ministries to effectively use the social media with its Twitter handle @MEAIndia crossing one million followers. "Marking a #digitaldiplomacy milestone with 1,000,000+ followers! Hope to continue to serve & inform in the best traditions of the MEA," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup, who runs the handle, tweeted.