|Credit: OSCE/Igor Schimbator|
In a recent article on NPR by Michele Kelemen, one can read how Social Media have affected Public Diplomacy. The Arab spring has been used as a bedrock for people arguing about the role of the Internet in regime change and public diplomacy.
It is not just Social Media, but the Internet as a whole. Some people consider Social Media to be websites such as Facebook, twitter, YouTube, flickr, Blogs and more. That is not the case. These tools are just Internet applications.
The Internet as a whole is a Social Medium!
Today if somebody is lying about you in the media ... we now have the tools to get the real facts out there. - Alec Ross, State Department social media adviser
Alec Ross is right. However with the correct use of Social Media, one should not only get the word out, or set the record strait; but actually listen to citizens and social groups, engage with the public and create a two-way communications stream between the diplomatic core and the public.
To that extend, public diplomacy should not be done only by senior diplomats, embassies, or diplomatic personel on the ground. The whole diplomatic community can engage, write, listen and make a difference every day.
Internet public diplomacy, is not only geared towards communicating with the public, it should be a medium for engagement between diplomats, countries, international organizations and NGO's.
Diplomats have the training to conduct themselves in any situation. If only they would apply this training in their online presence! Sure it takes one's time in order to be active in Social Media, but the Return on Relationship is worth it.
Public Diplomacy and Internet engagement is one of the subjects that I am really fascinated about. During my years as a special advisor on foreign affairs I had the opportunity to work along diplomats and foreign service personnel; a tilt in information management and public diplomacy is currently happening.
Some of my articles on the subject of Internet engagement and public diplomacy:
Is Libya another example of a facebook revolution?
Social Media & Public Diplomacy, facebook or Chatham House Rule?
Shimon Peres & Benjamin Netanyahu talk about the Middle East and the role of the Internet
Benjamin Netanyahu engages with a global audience
Middle East Change and the Internet