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The Daily: Twitter, Again, is a Weird Place

The Daily: Twitter, Again, is a Weird Place

February 17, 2014 7:02 am by: Category: The Daily

Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day.

Selfies with world leaders is apparently a thing now.

A collection of “selfies” with world leaders. A selfie is a self-portrait photograph, typically taken at arms length with a hand-held digital camera or camera phone by the protagonist. [Storify by Twiplomacy]


I admit, I make this mistake at times as well: @BarackObama is NOT an account that tweets on behalf of the president unless otherwise indicated. This has interesting public diplomacy implications.

As The Wire reported last April, and as many, many people still seem not to realize, the Twitter account that bears President Obama’s name and image is not actually tweeting on behalf of the president. Instead, it’s controlled by Organizing For Action, the 501(c)(4) non-profit that took over the reins of the 2012 Obama campaign’s organizing activity early last year. This is perfectly legal — OFA rents the account from the still-extant campaign infrastructure — but it’s obviously confusing to users. When I spoke with an official from OFA last year, I was told that the organization didn’t think people should be confused. The account’s bio clearly states it’s run by OFA, and it notes that any tweets actually from Obama will be signed “-bo.” (Over at least the past four months, there have been zero tweets signed in that way.) But the bio only shows up when you go to; retweets of OFA’s Obama tweets don’t indicate that it’s not the man himself doing the tweeting. [The Wire]


Public diplomacy butts up against diplomacy priorities as Secretary of State John Kerry meets with a group of Chinese bloggers.

A group of Chinese bloggers asked the United States to take up the cause of Internet freedom in an unusual meeting on Saturday with Secretary of State John Kerry. One by one, the bloggers voiced concerns to Mr. Kerry, who arrived here on Friday to discuss regional issues with China’s leaders, that the ability of Chinese citizens to gain access to information was under siege and that the country’s prospects for becoming a democracy were uncertain at best. “Will you get together with the Chinese who aspire for freedom” and help “tear down this great firewall that blocks the Internet?” asked Zhang Jialong, a reporter for Tencent Finance,  a division of China’s largest social media company. [New York Times]



A comment in The Guardian argues for Australia not to scrap its international broadcasting apparatus.

Tony Abbott’s indication that he will scrap the Australia Network means surrendering yet another instrument of Australia’s rapidly depleting public diplomacy toolkit. Public diplomacy is essential for a middle power like Australia. It enables us to influence international public opinion in a way that supports our national interest. In today’s world, with growing democratisation, revolutions, and mass protests from the Middle East to the Ukraine and Southeast Asia, it is clear that citizens want to have more say over government policies. This includes policies toward other countries. What citizens in Indonesia, China, or the Pacific think of Australia can seriously affect our foreign interests.



A U.S. foreign service officer highlights the Foreign Service Institute and the importance of the language acquisition classes it provides.

For five hours a day in small group classes, approximately 2,000 U.S. diplomats at the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute do similar cultural analyses in 60+ languages from Chinese to Bangla and Kiswahili. This dedicated investment in foreign language acquisition, and the intense cultural understanding that comes with it, has for years set the State Department apart from other foreign ministries worldwide. Diplomacy, like negotiation and card playing, is an old, traditional ‘art’. To succeed at all three, the player needs an edge over his or her opponents, an edge based on preparation, confidence and cultural acuity. The more you know going in, the greater your chances of ultimate success. For that reason, the State Department runs one of the largest professional diplomatic training institutes in the world. [CPD Blog]



Three higher-ups in the U.S. State Department will talk digital diplomacy on Tuesday as part of Social Media Week New York. (You can stream the event live.)

The U.S. Department of State will sponsor a panel discussion, “Digital Diplomacy: Making Foreign Policy Less Foreign,” as part of Social Media Week New York on February 18 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. at the Foreign Press Center in New York City. The panel will highlight ways the State Department is using social media to conduct diplomacy and consider both the opportunities and challenges of digital statecraft. The State Department’s public diplomacy mandate is to engage the world, advance national security and keep Americans informed. Social media is an increasingly important tool in this mission. [U.S. Department of State]


Rwandan newspaper cites new democratic politics and political stability in its celebration of Rwandan soft power.

Rwanda’s new democratic politics could be an attraction but it’s the social-economic benefits of such a governance system to the people that gives the country its current soft power. For instance, a stable political environment under the RPF has made Rwanda one of the most secure countries today making it a hot spot for both business and leisure tourism, something that wasn’t the case before 1994. Political stability has also provided firm grounds to support a robust economy whose progress has seen the country become one of the most competitive and business friendliest in Africa, a major attraction for Foreign Direct Investments (FDI). [The Sunday Times]



Soft power as a deterrent? At least one Iranian military officer thinks so.

If Iran didn’t enjoy a soft deterrence power, the US wouldn’t hesitate even for a single second to launch a military attack (against Iran),” Jazzayeri said in Tehran on Sunday. “The aspects of the Islamic Revolution’s soft power along with the Islamic Republic’s high defensive power have strengthened Iran and crippled the enemy,” the Iranian commander added. He underlined that the era of one-sided war threats is gone now and the great Iranian nation will give a crushing response to the US if it dares to attack ran. Jazzayeri warned Washington against its strong advocacy and devotion to the Zionist regime, Iran’s arch foe, saying that the United States’ continued full-fledged support for Israel will damage the country and eventually lead to its collapse. [FARS News Agency]


A Nepalese website documents the history and efforts of Israeli public diplomacy in Nepal.

Tevel took its name from a Nepali NGO, Nyayik Sansar, which also means “Earth in Justice” and also does volunteer work. Tevel and Nyayik Sansar volunteers, mostly in the 20-30 age group, since then work together in Nepal with impoverished communities, to enhance and advance the livelihood, capacity, and wellbeing of their members. Through these grassroots activities, they help renew and strengthen the connection between the Jewish people and the marginalized and impoverished population to create a community through a fixed term intervention and assistance programme in either a rural village or urban slum. For example, a set of these activities has recently been completed in the Lamatole and Sadidada, Bhwassa and Dahu villages of Ramechap district and urban slum area created by Kalimati’s vegetable hub. The Israeli Embassy in Nepal through the Mashav, Israel’s agency for international development cooperation under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, funded and supported these programmes at the policy level. [Gorkhapatra Online]





photo credit: Twiplomacy

AMA Australia Network cultural foreign policy deterrent FIFA Foreign Service Institute foreign service officer internet freedom Nepal Organized for Action Reddit refugee camp selfies Social Media Week New York world leaders
The Daily: Twitter, Again, is a Weird Place Reviewed by on . Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day. [divide] Selfies with world leaders is appar Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day. [divide] Selfies with world leaders is appar Rating: 0

About Michael Ardaiolo

Michael Ardaiolo is currently a student in Syracuse University's Public Diplomacy Master's Program: M.A. in International Relations from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and M.S. in Public Relations from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. In addition, he is a recovering record slinger, a Criterion Collection addict, an NBA obsessor, and a struggling student of the Korean language.

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