The research of Kampf, Manor, & Segev (2015) is based on data collected from eleven Ministries of foreign affairs (MFAs) located in the countries including Ethiopia; India; Israel; Japan; Kenya; Poland; Rwanda; Somalia; South Korea; the United Kingdom; and the United States. The countries were chosen for their extensive use of Social Networking Sites (SNS). Facebook and Twitter records of these eleven MFAs are captured for two phases of 20 days each. The posts and tweets of each day are recorded for reference and review. The results suggest that dialogic loop is a rarity when Social Networking website are taken as a part of public diplomacy mainly due to the MFAs use of broadcast model of communication which rejects or suppresses engagement with online followers. The rare case of engagement and two way communication was sought at one instance whereby Israeli spokesperson was involved in a Question/Answer session with the followers, however the scope of discussion was limited to the topic/issue. Moreover, the author suggests that MFAs are more inclined towards posting updated information and issues on twitter rather than on Facebook since it is shorter and easier to communicate in 140 characters without any multimedia content rather than the lengthier Facebook post which is usually accompanied by a multimedia content like pictures and videos. MFAs consider Twitter as a source of immediate response or broadcasting of their stance considering the tweets that were posted right after the news of Nelson Mandela’s demise. MFAs use social media as a tool to communicate with and target foreign population more than the domestic ones. The study concludes that although there is a potential in Social Network Sites to improve dialogue and communication, the same is not achieved due to lack of focus by MFAs to attract responses and develop followers’ engagement (Kampf, Manor, & Segev, 2015).
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Bjola and Holmes (2015) conducted a research based on extensive secondary data which affirms the value of Social Networking Sites and use of social media to transform public diplomacy. The research provides three dimensions to understand the impact of social media in public diplomacy including agenda setting, presence expansion and conversation generating. As per the research, agenda setting is easily and effectively achieved by diplomats as their audience is repeatedly exposed to massive information on the issue to be raised. The presence dimension is attained by constantly upgrading their mediums and use of social platforms that are in demand. The ease of digital media and social networking also brings in the requirement to stay abreast to the latest technology and social media network commonly used. The last dimension relates to conversation generation in digital diplomacy which is rarely or occasionally achieved. The results also suggest that the digital diplomacy is mainly utilized to disseminate information or for agenda setting rather than to create engagement or relationship-building (Kampf, Manor, & Segev, 2015; Bjola and Holmes, 2015). Another study suggests that Foreign Ministries are more inclined towards using social media to attract elite population instead of bridging communication gap with foreign populations. Hence the dissemination of information and creations of dialogue with foreign population is of limited significance to the manner it is currently used in (Manor, 2016).
The study of Valentine Costa (2017) highlights the issues that are associated with social media use in public diplomacy. The questions that are raised include the right training to use social media in public diplomacy, the mode of language, the real-time responses which may attract criticism and the plurality of channels (twitter, FaceBook, Instagram etc). The use of digital diplomacy, however, have improved dialogues between and across populations (Costa, 2017).
Good public diplomacy can no longer be monologue- but dialogue-based (Kampf, Manor, & Segev, 2015; Bjola and Holmes, 2015). The study of Cassidy and Manor (2016) exposes the myths related to digital diplomacy in terms of its effectiveness, reach, and impacts. In order to attain positive outcomes from this concept, the study recommends three main steps. The first step is to acquire digital diplomacy managers that are trained to communicate during crisis with a number of mediums and ability to respond to criticisms along with monitoring the impact of such communications. Secondly, these managers need to have immediate real-time access to other diplomats in order to formulate the right digital diplomacy content and support it with factual input from real diplomats. Finally diplomats, managers and higher officials should work side by side to maintain credible information available to the audience with creative strategies to keep them engaged like Q&A sessions (Cassidy and Manor, 2016).
- Bjola, C., & Holmes, M. (2015). Digital diplomacy: Theory and practice.
- Cassidy, J., & Manor, I. (May 26, 2016). Crafting strategic MFA communication policies during times of political crisis: a note to MFA policy makers. Global Affairs, 2, 3, 331-343.
- Costa, V. (2017). Shaping Public Diplomacy through Social Media Networks in the 21st Century.Romanian Journal Of History And International Studies, 4(1), 139-154.
- Kampf, R., Manor, I., & Segev, E. (January 01, 2015). Digital Diplomacy 2.0? A Cross-national Comparison of Public Engagement in Facebook and Twitter. The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, 10, 4, 331-362.
- Manor, I. (2016). Are we there yet: have MFAs realized the potential of digital diplomacy?: Results from a cross-national comparison. Leiden: Brill.