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E-diplomacy in action

10 May 2011 13:43

Writing about e-diplomacy is one thing, practicing it well is another. To shed some light on the latter, below is the first of a series of email interviews with a few of the most interesting practioners in this field.

This discussion via email is with the UK's Ambassador for Multilateral Arms Control and Disarmament and Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament, John S Duncan, who has harnessed e-diplomacy tools to draw together an influential audience in his key area of responsibility.  

Q: Ambassador Duncan, some people have questioned whether blogs can really play a useful role in the hands of government officials who are constrained by what they can say. What is your view about diplomats blogging and what role do you think blogs should play as a diplomatic tool? You are also an active tweeter: what role do you see Twitter playing in your field? 

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11 May 2011 15:07

One of the most successful examples of the government use of social media has been the US Embassy in Jakarta's Facebook page, which we have profiled several times.

In this email interview, Philip Roskamp, who runs the page (and is Assistant Press Attaché at the Embassy), gives a detailed and candid look behind the page as well as offering some great insights for any foreign ministry or corporation that uses, or is looking to use, social media.

Q. Your Facebook page is legendary, now with over 310,000 fans. Can you outline some of the history of the page – why it was set up, decisions you took on style and language, and why you think its following has grown so dramatically? 

A: The page began a few years ago with my predecessor and the Embassy Jakarta Public Affairs Section staff. At that time, US Embassies and Consulates were starting to get involved with social media as a way to better connect with host country audiences, particularly youth. 

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13 May 2011 10:36

Koreans are legendary for their embrace of technology. Not surprisingly, the State Department, via e-diplomat Ambassador Kathleen Stephens and her team, has had a lot of success with digital initiatives in Korea. One particularly interesting example is Café USA.

To look at this platform in detail, I conducted this email interview with Aaron Tarver, Press Attaché at the US Embassy in Korea. 

Q: For our non-Korean readers, could you explain what Café USA is about and how the concept originated?

A: Café USA is the Mission's official online community created in October 2004 to facilitate direct communication between the Embassy and Korea's internet-savvy general public. The café is hosted on DAUM, one of the two major internet portals in Korea. Currently, Café USA boasts over 11,000 registered members and has around 500 daily visits, with messages posted each day on various boards. The members not only read and post messages on web-boards regularly, but also participate in web chats to share their views on bilateral relations.  

Q: What sorts of issues get raised in Café USA and how does Café USA contribute towards the work of the US Embassy in Korea?

COMMENTS

24 May 2011 16:02

Jimmy Leach is Head of Digital Diplomacy at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, where he leads one of the world's most dynamic e-diplomacy teams. He was good enough to do an email interview as part of this series on e-diplomacy. You can follow him on Twitter here, or on his blog.   

Q: The FCO has been one of the leaders in e-diplomacy. Now that you've had some time to experiment with the different platforms, which ones do you think have been most successful and useful for the FCO?

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7 Jun 2011 14:42

India is famous for its IT industry and, not surprisingly, its foreign ministry sees a bright future for e-diplomacy. Navideep Suri is Joint Secretary for Public Diplomacy in the Indian Ministry of External Affairs and oversees its new e-diplomacy push. He was kind enough to do an email interview on India's recent initiative in this space. 

Q: India has been active in the e-diplomacy space. What are some of the initiatives you’ve been working on and what platforms have you found most effective so far and for what purposes?

A: We entered the e-diplomacy space last July when we started our Twitter account. We followed it up with a Facebook page and a YouTube channel and also started using online publishing sites like Scribd and Issuu for some of our publications. We also started our Public Diplomacy website which, curiously, was the first in our government to be based on a Web 2.0 platform.

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