Policy Paper – The Digital Diplomacy Revolution: Why is Canada Lagging Behind? by Roland Paris

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on June 24, 2013

“The practice of international diplomacy is undergoing a revolution. As activists, private and public organizations, political leaders and mass publics embrace Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media, foreign ministries have come under increasing pressure to update their operating methods. Many countries, including the US and Britain, are now encouraging their diplomats to use social media as a regular part of their job – not simply as a virtual “listening post” to monitor political discussions, nor merely as a me gaphone for broadcasting press releases, but as a forum for participating directly in these discussions. Foreign ministries that fail to adapt to the social media revolution will lose influence over time: they will forgo opportunities to shape public discussions that are increasingly channeled through social media, to correct errors of fact or interpretation in real-time, and to build networks of interlocutors and followers. Canada is lagging far behind the US and Britain in digital diplomacy. Aside from a few recent experiments, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) has largely sat on the sidelines of this revolution.”

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