Social Media : an opportunity to strengthening foreign policy

The international world is growing along with the advance of the information and technology, and it has influenced the way of global world politics among countries. Recently, the use of technology can be found in many fields included in world politics through public diplomacy, Public Diplomacy refers to processes in which countries seek to accomplish their foreign policy goals by communicating with foreign publics. It is also a tool for creating a positive climate amongst foreign populations in order to facilitate the acceptance of one’s policies. In 20th century Public diplomacy tries to maximizing the use of digital tools. Yet there is a special terms for public diplomacy that conducted by the growing use of information and technologies (ICTs) and social media platforms, Digital Diplomacy. Instead of conducting meeting, now the government of country can communicate with foreign public through Facebook status update.

United States of America and the Voice of America (VoA), an American-affiliated broadcast media in many developing countries in the world that has been established since World War II and as time goes by until today VoA still stand as the voice of the American Foreign Policy and adjust its existence with the digital media. VoA is under the auspices of an organization called Broadcasting Boards of Governors (BBG), which was established by the Government of the United States, take care of the technical-technical BBG broadcasting such as transmitters and set the standards and principles of broadcasting, especially on VoA. Every year the BBG will make a report and draw up a new strategy together with the foreign affairs department, the United States and involving the Foreign Minister therein. In other words, BBG has adapted to the foreign policies of the US, which is then transmitted by broadcasters under its umbrella. VoA expanded to the use of social media platforms. it has linking their news update with their official social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and airing the tv program through YouTube channel. When the number of VoA affiliation with Radio and TV in Indonesia decrease, VoA Facebook account had reach around 1 million followers/fans in 2015.

It also has become a considerable tool in other country in their political act toward foreign public. In January 2010, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez stated that using Twitter to criticize his regime was “terrorism.” Less than three months later, he opened his own Twitter account. Days after his re-election victory on Oct. 7, 2012, Chavez announced the rearrangement of his cabinet via a series of tweets to more than three million followers. In just two years, one of the world’s most-watched leaders in the international policy arena has become an avid tweeter. Swiss Consulate –General in New York has conducting e-diplomacy pilot program launched by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, have yet to venture into using Twitter for bilateral diplomacy, nor do they use social media to exert political influence. They have a small — but growing — following on Twitter, and consider Facebook as their primary social media community for sharing news, promoting Swiss culture, and engaging with the public. Next they use strategic approach includes the use of YouTube, Tumblr, and Flickr to support content programs.

The use of social media has also been highlighted part in doing the diplomacy by the United Nations in this era, example like Twitter is making diplomacy more real-time and he expanded on those comments later. Thus they put serious attention to make the best form and works of the social media itself. In early 2015 the United Nations is holding its first ever Social Media Day at its New York Headquarters, in an event featuring social media professionals, digital diplomacy practitioners and academics who are sharing their experiences, discussing trends and proving insights into their work, following by representatives of Twitter, LinkedIn and Tumblr discussed how to make the most of social media platforms.

Digital media have the potential to be used as an opportunity for the countries in the world in carrying out its foreign policy, especially in exert influence in foreign public. Social media with its platform has several potential that bring advantage for the process of diplomacy. The platform of this media made to provide two way of communication, which would have less monologue and more interactive dialog with foreign pubic. It also offers more opportunities for engagement with foreign publics, engagement that may facilitate the creation of relationships between one country and the population of another. It is also enticing for the public diplomacy practitioner, when they just need to provide the information and public will access by themselves. In other hand, it challenge the practitioner to improve the ability to interact with foreign publics and actively engage . If the government of a country realize this potential since the early, they can take advantage of the presence of digital diplomacy as one of the tools to run its foreign policy and it will be a force to strengthen influence in the international world.

References

Child, William R., 1996, A Basement Seat To History; Tales of Converning President Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan for The Voice of America by Philomena Jurey, Presidential Studies Quaterly, Vol. 26 No. 3

Cooper, Robert, 2004, American Power in the 21st Century: Hard Power, Soft Power, and the Goals of Diplomacy, Consilium Europa.

Cull, N. J. 2008. Public diplomacy: Taxonomies and histories. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 616(1), 31–54.

Roberts, W. R. 2007. What is public diplomacy? Past practices, present conduct, possible future. Mediterranean Quarterly, 18(4), 36–52.

United Nations, 2015. UN highlights power of social media in modern diplomacy during day- long New York event. http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=49961#.VyIeOXo4Kio.

Voice of America. 2016. About Voice of America. http://www.voaindonesia.com

US Embassy Article. 2013.

http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/st/english/article/20130201141964.html