DIGITAL ASSET

PRESENCE

INFLUENCE & ENGAGEMENT

DISRUPTION

Over the past two decades, digital diplomacy has become a buzzword and perhaps a cottage industry among foreign policy practitioners. In an era of disruptive innovation, rapid technological change, ubiquitous connectivity, big data, machine learning, algorithmic governance and digital literacy, diplomats, leaders and ministries started adopting what digital zeitgeist necessitates: transformation. In the process of digital transformation, some political leaders and MFAs who are early adapters, geeks and quick learners seem to lead the way. Others who still have doubts as to whether digital diplomacy is in fact essential clearly lag behind in this incessant digital race.

 

Today, traditional diplomacy including public diplomacy faces unprecedented technology-related challenges. Digital divide continues to widen between nations and generations. A ‘now generation’ of digital natives appears to dominate the game of digital communication. Traditional diplomatic code of conduct that relies on classical IR concepts such as mutual/multi-lateral recognition and negotiation is now also shaped by new forms of diplomatic tools: hashtags, emojis, likes, RTs, pins, vines, snaps etc. Unlike traditional diplomacy, digital diplomacy allows anyone and everyone, anywhere, anytime to have a voice and influence vis-à-vis one and other as well as the ruling elite and diplomats. This type of engagement turned out to be viral, non-hierarchical, real-time, 7/24, personalized, customized and optimized.

 

It’s the new Internetional System (not typo)- it is a neologism that denotes an Internet-ridden system and even beyond. Uberization of everything by everyone is coming and it is unstoppable. The journey from ‘International’ to ‘Internetional’ is already underway. Even diplomats now talk about hacking sovereignty, augmenting democracy, flipping diplomacy and crowdsourcing governance. Viralpolitik slowly supplements realpolitik. For the time being, digital assets play an important role in this systemic update.

 

Diplomacy.Live’s Hierarchy of Digital Diplomacy (MFAs by %)

It’s against such a background that Diplomacy.Live presents Digital Diplomacy Review 2016 (#DDR16), which is an assessment of 1098 digital diplomacy assets used by 210 MFAs worldwide. #DDR16 is realized by using both qualitative and quantitative data produced by MFAs. Providing an in-depth analysis of publicly open digital diplomacy assets, this survey examines websites, mobile apps and social networks and the ways in which they are used to conduct digital diplomacy affairs. The ultimate aim of #DDR16 is to go beyond a simplistic ranking of digital diplomacy performance solely based on the number of followers, likes and RTs. #DDR16 also takes into consideration digital diplomacy strategies, social media atlas and social media guidelines developed by MFAs. Our methodology utilizes an integrated approach that focuses on presence, customization, up-to-dateness, strategy, influence, engagement, analytics, security, content, audience, transparency and innovation. We borrow Maslow’s ‘hierarchy of needs’ framework and in turn suggest Maslow’s Hierarchy of Digital Diplomacy.

 

Today, traditional diplomacy including public diplomacy faces unprecedented technology-related challenges. Digital divide continues to widen between nations and generations. A ‘now generation’ of digital natives appears to dominate the game of digital communication. Traditional diplomatic code of conduct that relies on classical IR concepts such as mutual/multi-lateral recognition and negotiation is now also shaped by new forms of diplomatic tools: hashtags, emojis, likes, RTs, pins, vines, snaps etc. Unlike traditional diplomacy, digital diplomacy allows anyone and everyone, anywhere, anytime to have a voice and influence vis-à-vis one and other as well as the ruling elite and diplomats. This type of engagement turned out to be viral, non-hierarchical, real-time, 7/24, personalized, customized and optimized.

 

It’s the new Internetional System (not typo)- it is a neologism that denotes an Internet-ridden system and even beyond. Uberization of everything by everyone is coming and it is unstoppable. The journey from ‘International’ to ‘Internetional’ is already underway. Even diplomats now talk about hacking sovereignty, augmenting democracy, flipping diplomacy and crowdsourcing governance. Viralpolitik slowly supplements realpolitik. For the time being, digital assets play an important role in this systemic update.

 

 

#DDR16 uses 45 categories and 166 sub-categories to measure digital diplomacy performance of 195 websites, 13 in-site blogs, 53 RSSs, 43 mobile apps and 742 social media handles in 33 social networks. Of those 210 MFAs listed, 166 ministries/departments have at least one Twitter account and 120 ministries have at least one Facebook account each. 77 foreign ministers have an active Twitter account.

 

Below is the full list of networks MFAs build their social presence:

Network No of accounts
Twitter 175
Facebook 129
Instagram 38
Youtube 92
Google+ 82
Flickr 63
Pinterest 5
Linkedin 46
Blog 13
Livestream 3
Naver 2
ABoom 1
Periscope 22
Dialymotion 1
Vimeo 3
SlideShare 3
Tumblr 3
Medium 2
Blogspot 3
WordPress 1
Storify 11
Soundcloud 11
Vine 8
Weishi 1
Weibo 14
YouKu 1
Playbuzz 1
Buzzfeed 2
Tencent 5
VK 8
Issuu 2
Douban 2
Picasa 1
Rebelmouse 1
Total 742
Type of Other Digital Assets # of assets
Website 195
Website 13
Blog 13
IOS app 21
Android app 19
BBapp 3
RSS 53
Social Media Atlas 22
Strategy Document 10
Guidelines 7
Total 356

MFAs’ Digital Diplomacy Assets

210

MFAs

742

SOCIAL ACCOUNTS

208

WEBSITES

43

MOBILE APPS

In addition, #DDR16 documented 22 social media atlas pages, 10 digital strategy documents and 7 social media guideline documents. #DDR16 also shows that 210 MFAs use 77 different languages to conduct digital diplomacy through their digital assets. Alexa’s global website ranking and Klout’s influence score APIs were also used during our analytic data processing.

 

The goals of #DDR16 are:

– to identify top-performers and low-performers in the field of digital diplomacy.

– to devise a benchmark for MFAs who want to begin, improve or profess their digital diplomacy capability, competence and performance.

– to offer roadmap for low-performing MFAs in need of urgent digital transformation.

– to encourage MFAs who require professional support for conducting digital transformation.

– to increase digital diplomacy awareness and competition.

– to map out major shortcomings, obstacles, failures and mistakes.

– to diagnose motivational and operational issues regarding digital diplomacy practice worldwide.

– to help MFAs develop digital diplomacy strategies and digital diplomacy action plans for their own needs, audience and policy choices.

– to draft a training curricula for digital diplomacy purposes.

Digital Diplomacy Atlas (MFAs by score & rating)

 

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