Digital Diplomacy explores what it means to be innovative in foreign policy and diplomacy. Digital and social media technologies are having an impact on everyday life and also on diplomatic practice, notably on the ways governments engage foreign publics. While the fundamentals of diplomacy may remain the same, and the traditional tools are by no means discarded, diplomacy in today’s world is more public, participative and global due to the emergence of new communication platforms. Governments can reach wider, even global audiences, and non-state actors and even individuals are empowered by instant communications, in a process that creates both opportunities and challenges.
Tom Fletcher, the British Ambassador to Beirut, underlines the importance of these trends when he states in the Preface to this volume that “in the ten years since 9/11, that world has been transformed more by American geeks in dorms than by Al Qaeda operatives in caves” (p. xi). The result is the creation of a new context for diplomacy in which “it matters less what a minister or official says is our policy on an issue than what users of Twitter, Facebook, Google, etc., decide it is.”
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