|'Boop!' 'This is so much more fun in person.'|
“A seismic shift is under way at the U.S. Department of State as Foggy Bottom increasingly draws on Silicon Valley expertise to develop tools and strategies for remaining effective — and relevant — in a rapidly innovating world. Though all sections of the State Department are affected, public diplomacy in particular has had to adapt its perspective and overhaul its outreach to stay current in a constantly evolving technological landscape.” – Jacob Comenetz, “Innovating Public Diplomacy For a New Digital World”
I joined the US Foreign Service, in the early 1980s, in search of gainful employment and out of a certain sense of idealism to promote peace at a time when our small planet was arguably “bipolar” (U.S. vs. USSR) and threatened by a nuclear holocaust.
During the period — Cold War and immediate post-Cold War — the social media were not omnipresent. I felt there was a need to depict America to foreign audiences as honestly as possible in a communications-limited world, not only behind the “Iron Curtain,” but in other parts of Europe.
Of course now times have changed, and diplomats must adapt to change.
But no one — including diplomats — should live under the illusion that, in our multipolar 21st century world, the social media are omnipotent.
Indeed, the need to understand cultures beyond “interacting” on the internet is more important than ever.
Facebook-to-Facebook “communications,” while creating professionally useful cyber-networks, will never replace face-to-face discussion/negotiations — which ultimately is what diplomacy is all about.
For more: Twitter as diplomacy?http://www.voanews.com/content/twitter-diplomacy-social-media/1452891.html