I wrote this article with the COO of InterMedia Susan Gigli. InterMedia has offices in London, Washington DC and after 15 years of working throughout Africa also recently opened a regional office in Nairobi. It appeared in The Channel (Association of International Broadcasters), Issue 2, 2011
Over these 15 years, the need for international broadcasters to engage with audiences has remained unchanged but the rules of engagement are new. In the article we provide a brief guide for media organizations seeking to embrace new networked media platforms. The 10 rules show how “users behave and cluster with these networks, and how users are shaping their own news and information environments.”
(1) discuss research methods needed to develop, implement, and evaluate social media campaigns in public diplomacy;
(2) assess the State Department’s use of digital media to support President Obama’s March 2011 visit to Brazil; and
(3) offer recommendations for using social media in future public diplomacy campaigns. They conclude that, to be effective, public diplomacy practitioners must adopt new research methods and strategies that take into account opportunities and constraints in using social media.
Although there are many differences to the use of Twitter following the election in Iran there is still plenty of interesting data around social media use during the ongoing protests in the middle east.
A 3 million tweet sample was used to survey the relative use of Twitter in relation to various protests.
This image shows the tags individuals have used within the sample. Some are using multiple combinations of tags while others choose to focus on a single country. #Tags for Libya and Egypt are being used by more individuals than others including Yemen or Morocco.
Looking at a single tag – #Morocco, the flow of information through this single tag can be identified through an analysis of the sources of information which are most frequently RT and the resulting network this creates.
The resulting RT network shows some long chains passing on information and some clusters that RT from the same source. Shown closer it becomes easier to identify key sources of information which users RT.
A final view shows the current position of international broadcasters within this network.
In the #morocco tag at least, many more users are choosing to pass on information from an Egyptian human rights blogger, an activist in Morocco with relatively few followers, and a Moroccan Doctor rather than look to international broadcasters. One notable exception is Nicholas Kristof (NY Times). This revisits questions about the preferred sources of information in evolving situations and the role of International Broadcasters offing “impartial news reports, documentaries and analysis from around the globe”.
I hope to have more analysis of content relating to other tags later in the week…
Daryl Copeland, Guerrilla Diplomacy: Rethinking International Relations
(Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2009)
“A rich argument spiced by Copeland’s years of experience on the ground…. It puts forward an inescapable challenge with which scholars and practitioners alike will have to grapple as they attempt to define a role for diplomacy in the future of international relations.”
Daryl Copeland presents the case for a new approach to international relations in the form of guerrilla diplomacy. The use of force in the first decade of the twenty-first century, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan, has demonstrated limitations in the approach adopted particularly by Blair and Bush and the coalition of willing participants. Guerrilla Diplomacy presents an alternative approach to the challenges of contemporary international relations and a call to reinvigorate diplomacy.
The new guerrilla diplomats envisaged by Daryl Copeland are no longer seen just dealing with representatives of other governments but comfortably navigating local traditions and numerous environments to engage a wider range of actors and NGOs. With physical and virtual barriers being erected to prevent citizens engaging directly with embassy staff, the options are to hunker down in mini “green zones” or become nimble enough to operate beyond the concrete barriers and automatic weapons. The guerrilla diplomat should “swim with comfort and ease in the sea of the people rather than flop around like a fish out of water, and prefer to mix with the population rather than mingle with colleagues inside the embassy walls”.
What is worthy of note is that some responses to guerrilla diplomacy have comprised the incongruous pairing of (a) assertions that foreign ministries are already engaged in this activity, and (b) an insistence that it will not work within the organizational culture of an embassy. All of which suggests that Copeland has hit a raw nerve with his clarion call for a new form of diplomat. Many have observed the changing world in which public diplomats operate; few have articulated at any length how embassy staff should respond. In articulating a response to globalization, Copeland demonstrates the extent to which contemporary diplomacy does not utilize the full range of options. Even for those who disagree with the image of guerrilla-in-diplomat’s-clothing, the book makes a strong argument that diplomacy is not currently configured for optimal results.
The book, for good or ill, is not ivory-towered scholarship – it is a rich argument spiced by Copeland’s years of experience on the ground. As a result it puts forward an inescapable challenge with which scholars and practitioners alike will have to grapple as they attempt to define a role for diplomacy in the future of international relations.
Last time I had the privileged of presenting at a conference with Phil I was teasing him that he must have worked with, taught or worked on collections of essays with a large proportion of those scholars currently working in the fields of Public Diplomacy and Propaganda
As we talked about it I asked if he could think of someone in the UK he hadn’t worked with – he modestly smiled and said there were still a few…
From a personal perspective I was fortunate to have written an essay in a collection he edited and to edit a collection he contributed to. In both experiences I learned a lot.
I’m sure in the days ahead those who knew him better will write more eloquently than I. So I leave the writing to them. Instead, as a reflection of his vast experience, academic production, and the connections he made – this video maps the way he saw propaganda and public diplomacy, through the links in his website, as a tribute to the far reaching influence he had on the disciplines he studied.
Bullets with Butterfly Wings: Tweets, Protest Networks and the Iranian Election
Following the election in Iran, Twitter was used as a means for expression for both individuals in Iran and networks observing the events from around the world. This spawned many articles the ‘Twitter Revolution’ or proclaiming Twitter, “the Medium of the Movement” (Grossman, 2009) but what was the reality behind the hyperbole?
The essay presents analysis based on network mapping to visualise the interactions which occurred between the members of networks using Twitter. Network analysis, contextualised by concepts of Netwar (Arquilla & Ronfeldt, 1996) with previous analysis of network based protest, demonstrate interaction was predominantly characterised by a series of local conversations rather than a one global debate. On this basis the conclusion considers implications for both protestor and state of operating in an environment where high volumes of data have the potential to hamper coordination and limit coherent interaction with a wider audience.
Media, Power and Politics in the Digital Age: The 2009 Presidential Election Uprising in Iran.
Focusing on the Iranian presidential elections of 2009 and ensuing demonstrations in major cities across Iran and world, Media, Power, and Politics in the Digital Age provides a balanced discussion of the role and impact of modern communication technologies, particularly the novel utilization of _small digital media_ vis-^-vis the elections and global media coverage. Written in a non-technical, easy to read, and accessible manner, the volume will appeal to scholars, students, policy makers and print professionals alike. To provide a global overview of media coverage and diverse perspectives on the controversial 2009 presidential election, this book consists of 24 original essays, covering issues from global media coverage to new media-social networking, from the ideological-political dimensions to the cultural facets of the elections. Organized in a cohesive manner, the writing styles and presentation remain varied and richly informative.
The focus on collaboration in the new US National Security Strategy emphasises the need to foster the skills to convene, connect and mobilize networks. This will require a smart network of diplomats not just smart individuals.
While the Obama administration is “clear-eyed about the challenge of mobilizing collective action” those putting strategy into action will have to build smarter networks if diplomats are to collaborate effectively within complex networks of influence. Two aspects of these smart networks will be particularly important.
In part one of Mapping the Great Beyond, Fisher discusses the value social media tools bring to PD practitioners and the new tools available to identify nodes of influence and alternative ways to engage publics. Providing clear examples of the utility of these new resources for PD, the second part of his paper illustrates the value of resource mapping and information coordination at strategic level. Fisher’s concluding section discusses the use of network mapping to evaluate public diplomacy and contends that mapping networks can create new information for public diplomacy practitioners and scholars to better implement and evaluate public diplomacy strategies.
CPD Perspectives is a periodic publication from the USC Center on Public Diplomacy, and highlights scholarship intended to stimulate critical thinking about the study and practice of public diplomacy.