twitter

Countries as diverse as the United States and North Korea have all struggled at the nexus of statehood and social media. Until now, none have had to purchase the Twitter handle of their country's name from the owner of a porn site. That dubious honor goes to Israel, which recently purchased the user name @israel from Israel Meléndez, a Spanish man living in Miami, who registered the name back in 2007, early in the microblogging website's history.

Thousands of politicians all over the world are now on Twitter, and not all are using the social networking tool wisely. Take Salmaan Taseer, the governor of Pakistan's Punjab province, a businessman who owns the Daily Times newspaper and is said to have been close to Benazir Bhutto, the late prime minister.

Never did I think it would be Kim Jong Il who would get me to open a Twitter account. North Korea turned me around. Who can resist Dear Leader Kim’s propaganda arm churning out crazed statements in 140 characters?

Better communication of EU affairs by public service broadcasters is key to bridging the gap between the European Union and its citizens, said the European Parliament yesterday (7 September), highlighting in particular the "huge potential" of social media to reach out to young people.

September 7, 2010

In July 2010, the Ministry of External Affairs sent its first ‘tweet’ through its official Twitter account, thus pulling India into the age of digital diplomacy. Despite being an information technology powerhouse, India is a late entrant in using tools of e-diplomacy...it is an apt moment to reflect on changes affecting the country’s diplomatic representation abroad. The basic change relates to the backdrop of India’s rising stock in the world.

It's one thing to maintain ruthless control over an oppressed citizenry. But quite something else to tweet about it well. In today's Davos-driven geopolitics, even authoritarian leaders need to be savvy about public relations. That's why even the toughest leaders are all up on the Internet; they use Twitter to craft their images without the hassle and noise of competing parties or media bias.

Peace talks beginning today in Washington between Israelis and Palestinians will prompt the use of the new accounts to communicate events and news from the talks. Although Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office has had an official website for some time Netanyahu apparently realizes the benefits of using social networking sites to get his message across more widely.

Google can be seen as an American political tool, argues cyber diplomacy analyst Evgeny Morozov in a new editorial pegged to the announcement of an Iranian national search engine. Furthermore, he indicts many Silicon Valley companies for collaborating with the State Department to turn business matters into political questions.

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