DIGITAL DIPLOMACY REVIEW METHODOLOGY & SCOPE

About us

diplomacyliveDiplomacy.Live is a research project by the Istanbul Center for Digital Affairs committed to data-driven thinking on and study of advocacy and analysis in the digital diplomacy sphere. Our focus lies at the intersection of diplomacy, digital age, tech trends, cyberspace, politics and AI. We have been analyzing, assessing, ranking and rating digital trends & assets used by global digital diplomacy actors and organizations since 2009. We specialize in developing real-time and live models of digital engagement. Diplomacy.Live believes that emerging technology trends of the 21st Century will shape the future of diplomacy. In order to better understand and adapt to this ongoing transformation, we create innovative global digital diplomacy products and services at all levels. #DDR17 among others is a result of this endless effort.

 

What is digital diplomacy?

Digital diplomacy has no uniform definition. Today, digital diplomacy is broadly defined as the conduct of diplomacy by everyone -including diplomats and leaders but not necessarily monopolized by them- who has access to the Internet, social and digital platforms, tools, devices, apps. During the course of any digital interaction, communication, campaign, or exchange of messages/data, digital diplomacy best transpires when at least one party is either a MFA, international organization, government, minister or leader who is either contacted for a communal or global issue or contacts a targeted audience for a strategic reason. The practice of digital diplomacy also concerns all digital technology trends which go beyond social media channels. Business intelligence, big data, data visualization, digital marketing, network analysis, mobile apps, AR/VR, digital games, predictive analysis, satellite images and AI are all used to fulfil strategic engagement, influence and digital diplomacy goals.

 

Why #DDR17?

The purpose of this project is to identify a global digital diplomacy index regarding digital diplomacy performance, capacity and competence of MFAs worldwide. #DDR17 is the most objective, empirical, analytical and exhaustive existing digital diplomacy review. Alexa’s global website ranking and Klout’s influence score APIs are also used to increase the depth and exactitude of our investigation. Our main objectives 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 and guiding principles for low-performing MFAs’ digital transformation.

– to encourage MFAs who require professional support and to help them specify their needs.

– to increase digital diplomacy awareness and competition among global diplomatic circles.

– 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 staff.

 

Methodology & Scope

The Digital Diplomacy Review methodology is based on a new approach Diplomacy.Live Research Team developed. It was first implemented to conduct Digital Diplomacy Review 2016. Like #DDR16, #DDR17 identifies 6 major phases which address the stages of motivational maturity from a beginner to advanced degree of digital diplomacy readiness for foreign ministries. Our six-stage model can be divided into capacity needs and competency needs. The first three levels are capacity needs, and the top-three levels are competency needs.

Digital-Diplomacy-Assets-PyramidThe Digital Diplomacy Review methodology is based on a new approach Diplomacy.Live Research Team developed. It was first implemented to conduct Digital Diplomacy Review 2016. Like #DDR16, #DDR17 identifies 6 major phases which address the stages of motivational maturity from a beginner to advanced degree of digital diplomacy readiness for foreign ministries. Our six-stage model can be divided into capacity needs and competency needs. The first three levels are capacity needs, and the top-three levels are competency needs.

PresenceThe most fundamental digital diplomacy need is presence as to whether or not any given foreign ministry has social channels, websites, apps and other solutions for their targeted audience. Almost all foreign ministries have at least one website, Twitter and/or Facebook account. However this does not necessarily imply that they are all customized, up-to-date, creative, innovative or they generate the desired engagement and policy influence.

CustomizationTo move up the hierarchy, customization needs arise when presence needs are satisfied and foreign ministries begin to plan their custom solutions executed accordingly with their corporate identity and design blueprint. Yet, progress may be disrupted by a failure to customize digital assets. Foreign ministries are expected to customize their digital assets with strategic expertise and design support.

Oup-to-datenessnce presence and customization needs are fulfilled, foreign ministries make more effort to keep their channels updated on regular basis. Although the satisfaction of a digital diplomacy need is not an “all-or-none” phenomenon, up-to-dateness can be satisfied to a certain extent before customization needs are not fully completed.

engagementEngagement refers to digital assets, tools and channels built for capacity needs to find, listen to and mobilize a community around an issue, maybe getting them to talk about it, give the targeted audience their views or take action in pursuit of a cause they care about.

influenceNext, foreign ministries aim to exert influence to develop ability to create an effect, change opinions and behaviors, drive measurable outcomes online to fulfil their policy goals.

innovationDigital Diplomacy is the ‘self-actualization’ stage, achieving foreign ministries’ full potential, including creative and innovative solutions. Appointing a digital ambassador, drafting digital diplomacy strategy and guidelines, creating a mobile game, or progressive app are all perfect examples of ultimate digital diplomacy goals that any MFA is expected to realize.

 

 

 

Measuring Digital Assets

Digital Diplomacy Atlas 2017 maps out a total of 1406 digital assets in 48 categories. Our Digital Diplomacy Review 2016 analyzed 1068 digital assets in 39 categories. US State Department, the digital diplomacy champion of 2017, holds a total of 36 digital assets in 16 distinct categories. Some foreign ministries may use various other digital assets from different categories for their foreign policy goals. Digital diplomacy performance of foreign ministries is measured with 273 metric indicators. In addition, quantitative data is supported by qualitative signifiers such as creativity, authenticity, transparency, content-management, security, openness, customization, up-to-dateness, professionalism and disruptive/innovative solutions. Each level of need is characterized by designated metric and qualitative indicators. Of 273 metric indicators, 54 parameters are used to assess presence, 19 parameters are used to assess customization, 27 parameters are used to measure up-to-dateness, 50 parameters are used to quantify engagement, 63 parameters are used to assess influence. The score of each MFA was measured on a 0 to100 scale and its equivalent of a letter from AAA ++ to E – – is also duly specified.