Week 7: Real Time

Throughout this course I have found the mode of social media platforms to communicate in real time to the foreign public most compelling. In week one I posted about the increase of social media usage in nation branding via local civilians projecting a certain mass image on social media sites. In week four I posted about Under Secretary of Public Diplomacy, Karen Hughes, who in 2006 rallied foreign service officers to make as many public appearances as possible to be heard and familiar to the foreign public they served. Prior to this campaign, officers were dismayed from making public appearances due to scrutinization of their message by their Government supervisors. Everything needed to be approved and that takes time.

In week 6, the article by Wallin focused on the necessity of giving autonomy to foreign service officers when it comes to interactions via social media sites. The bonus of communicating via social media to a foreign public is that response can happen in real time. In the past this method of communication has been stifled by attempts to gain approval for what messaging an officer was using. By the time approval was gained, the response was deemed late. The foreign public begin to see their issues as less of a priority for US foreign policy. Thus, it is essential to be able to give foreign service officers a certain level of autonomy so they can utilize the ability to communicate in real time.

This week’s readings on nation branding brings full circle that idea that cohesive messaging through all platforms including social media is essential to today’s PD efforts. Social media sends messaging not only from trained officers, but also from private sectors, nonprofit organizations, and civilians engaged in international relations on corporate, social, and cultural level. This messaging needs to be cohesive but autonomous in its efforts.

-Samantha Sobash


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