The revolution of information and of communication technology that we have undergone in the past few years has really opened peoples eyes towards the situation in other countries. This has affected some country’s public diplomacy and have had to evolve and adapt to the changing times. Many countries have hit the social networking sites to give out a good view of their country and to promote it.
Russia is no stranger to this change in public diplomacy. Before, most things could be kept behind closed doors but with information travelling faster than ever Russia has seen itself worried and pressured to clarify many allegations and to give an outstanding view of their country. Twitter has given many world leaders the chance to respond to diplomatic issues instantly.
Where as most organisations would use twitter as an informative tool of current events in their countries, Russia uses it to give an idyllic view of their country and to justify or clarify events involving Russia, such as the war in Libya (can be seen in tweet below). This shows the importance of public diplomacy, the image of a country can be tainted by the media, and when many states are against your country’s policies, such is the case of Russia, a tool such as twitter is very useful for an instant response. The view that the general public has of your country is extremely important so it is necessary that you promote your country well.
The russian embassy in the UK use twitter very aggressively and are always defensive of their country, some people may even call it propaganda. Whether we can call it actual diplomacy, one thing is certain and that is that twitter and other social networks provide the opportunity to respond to diplomatic issues in an instant. The use of twitter for diplomatic issues can also be a curse, as I said before some information can be taken as propaganda and this could damage your image, or sometimes twitter could be used in the heat of the moment and cause trouble as we have seen happen many times with Mr President Trump’s tweets.
Twitter is not only used to promote one’s country but to promote oneself or an ideology. If there is someone worth talking about in the twitter realm that someone is the president of The United States of America, Donald J. Trump. A diplomatic approach through twitter with no protocol whatsoever, many people call it a political strategy to show that Trump is not like the other politicians and others just say that it is Trump’s lack of knowledge and vocabulary, whatever it is, it has certainly had it’s effect. However, President Trumps lack of diplomatic skills show us just how important public diplomacy is, there are just some situations where you can’t avoid being politically correct and when speaking about another country it is certainly one of those moments that you can’t avoid using such tools.
A simple tweet such as the one that Mr Trump wrote about Iran could just make tensions worse between the countries and from a diplomatic point of view this could be very problematic. Also making false allegations or uninformed allegations against other american politicians can also affect american citizens by dividing the country even more through unnecessary comments.
By analyzing these two twitter accounts we can see the importance of public diplomacy and just how influential the general public’s opinion can be that political personalities have connected into the web to promote a better view of the country or the government. Public diplomacy is important, by addressing issues publicly the people can see that the leaders are taking action on the matter and to do so there are protocols to follow, if those protocols are not followed, accounts, like Trump’s twitter account, can cause quite a bit of tension. Just because something is written on a social network site doesn’t mean it looses importance, that’s why organisations, governments and politicians should be careful with what they say.
-Alex Hern ‘Twitter users volunteer to be Russia’s latest weapon in the information wars‘(online) Theguardian.com. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/mar/16/twitter-users-volunteer-to-be-russias-latest-weapon-in-the-information-wars (Accessed the 16 of march 2016)
-Andrew Weisburd(2016) ‘How Russia dominates your twitter feed to promote lies’ (online) Thedailybeast.com. Available at:
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/08/06/how-russia-dominates-your-twitter-feed-to-promote-lies-and-trump-too.html (Accessed the 16 of March 2017)
-Mark Fahey(2017) ‘Donald Trump’s twitter engagement is stronger than ever’ (online) cnbc.com. Available at: http://www.cnbc.com/2017/02/16/donald-trumps-twitter-engagement-is-stronger-than-ever.html
-Unknown (2016) ‘Russia launched ‘cyberwar and propaganda campaign’ against UK-media’ (online) rt.com. Available at: https://www.rt.com/uk/370642-uk-russia-cyberwar-propaganda/ (Accessed the 16 of march 2017)
-Twitter(2017) Russian Embassy, UK (online) Available at: https://twitter.com/RussianEmbassy?lang=en (Accessed the 16 of march 2017)
-Twitter (2017) Donald J. Trump (online) Available at: https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump?lang=en (Accessed the 16 of march 2017)