Is Digital Diplomacy the Old Radio?January 13, 2017
Yesterday I came across a piece with the headline: Digital diplomacy is the new radio
This is the first paragraph
Digital Diplomacy is the new radio. Ever since politicians figured out that they could speak directly to ‘the masses’, we have had the phenomenon of public diplomacy. It became possible, via radio, to speak directly to people without having to go through official government channels. In the early 20th century, the Nazis and the Bolsheviks effectively used the radio to stoke revolutions in neighbouring countries. A hundred years later, with the advent of social media, public diplomacy has taken a new leap, to 140-character policy frameworks, thanks to Twitter.
There’s nothing new about arguing that social media is really a form of broadcasting but what struck a chord was the reference to the Nazis and the Bolsheviks. What you found in totalitarian 1940s and 1950s broadcasting was a personalized, contentious and condescending tone that explained why the other lot were rubbish. I’ve always been a bit puzzled by the Russian Embassy London Twitter account – it doesn’t seem to do much to improve the image of Russia or improve relations with the UK but I suddenly recognized the tone.