In our hyperconnected world, the digital revolution has also shifted our relations to governments and institutions, generating the emergence of the concept of digital diplomacy.
IT IS A FORM OF PUBLIC DIPLOMACY INVOLVING THE USE OF DIGITAL TOOLS AND SOCIAL NETWORKS
Such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Weibo by governments or institutions, in order to achieve their goals of influence. It offers a new era to explore and is a relevant tool for strengthening international relations and increasing soft power.
Public diplomacy, the means by which a government communicates with its public abroad, has undergone many metamorphoses in recent years. Public diplomacy is a relatively young concept, often considered intergovernmental relations to ensure good understanding between two countries.
The concept quickly shifted to the 21st century with the growing public interest and the involvement of new players in public relations. Public diplomacy is therefore defined by its close relationship to soft power, both as a means and a consequence of it, as well as by its relationship with its audience. It is valued by its ability to influence effectively.
The digital era and its social networks today offer a real challenge for states and international organizations. From sending representatives abroad to “twittomacy”, what role can digital tools play in modern diplomacy? The Cyber Weapons of Soft Power Carrying a new form of social communication, essentially based on emotions, social networks are powerful channels. Mankind is governed by emotions and public diplomacy greatly increases the engagement of his audience by reaching to them. An extreme illustration of this phenomenon, the Cambridge Analytica case was emblematic of Donald Trump’s election campaign: to increase engagement, the data retrieved by the company made it possible to create profiles based on preferences on specific topics, so to send them the most effective type of advertising based on their personality, location and political opinions.
The cornerstone of today’s challenges, microtargeting offers the possibility of targeting precisely specific audiences, young people for example, and through accurate monitoring to adjust influencing strategies in real-time. Finally, social networks can create a privileged relationship in both directions between the concerned actor and his audience. Thus, what was traditionally a one-way discourse is metamorphosed, and institutions and governments are more than ever incarnated, even if often virtually. But if social media are an integral part of digital diplomacy, it is not limited to them. Digital tools have roles to play everywhere, in negotiations, political processes and crisis management, all of which are related to diplomatic activities. They can be particularly useful in the field of information collection and processing, as well as for consular activities. Digital diplomacy extends to embassy consulting, GDPR guidelines, strategy planning, data analysis, content creation, digital privacy, diplomatic events… In our interconnected world, States cannot be left behind.
The scope of opportunities and opportunities is unlimited to always involve and interact with target audiences. Through digital technology, public diplomacy and its messages are becoming more accessible and attractive. In this way, abstract concepts are simplified, attention is more easily captured and a wider audience is reached. Thus, digital is the territory to conquer for governments and institutions of the twenty-first century and digital diplomacy holds opportunities to seize. Yet, in a connected space where bad buzz is easier to create than positive viral campaigns, in order to make the most of their digital presence, governments and institutions must adopt a strong and well-crafted digital strategy.