15 December 2015

The age of digital diplomacy

Author :

The benefits of being an active participant in the uncertain world of social media still far outweigh the risks – calling it the digital diplomacy.

An article covering this century of change and digital diplomacy suggests a simplified definition for the imminent term: Digital Diplomacy is the growing use of ICTs and social media platforms by a country in order to achieve its foreign policy goals and practice Public Diplomacy.

The US Department of State, responsible for international relations, has adopted and invested in the past few years an aggressive and proactive approach to social media adoption throughout its agencies. Some of their goals are:

  • Transparency about policy
  • Taking action and controlling change that the digital citizens are adopting unanimously
  • Send public comment on the current political crisis’
  • Fund-raising efforts in the aftermath of natural disasters
  • Tackling violence
  • Counter extremist sentiment and recruitment drives

It doesn’t go without its challenges – some of which include engaging with citizens on a more casual and human basis on a less secured/monitored platform on serious topics, and mitigating scandals and misconduct.

The Australian Government is fast moving behind the US’ wheels on adoption, and a lot of synergies can be drawn between the challenges and opportunities.

This stands by the premise that the opportunities for social media and digital use in the public sector to engage, communicate, and service delivery far outweighs the risks.

As part of the ‘Digital First’ strategy, Government at all levels will be required to achieve an aggregate target of all service provision and transactions online, as a result eyes will be on delivering high quality engagement, within Government budget allocation, and respond to increased discrepancy.

Article in The Age writes, “Now more than ever, being inept in the digital age doesn't just mean missed opportunity, it can also be dangerous. Without deft digital diplomacy, Australia leaves itself unable to respond to the risks that our citizens and exporters increasingly face overseas.”

“Foreign ministries have launched global digital campaigns using social media, video, memes and mobile apps to influence in the best interests of their citizens. They crowdsource new ideas from the public, take advantage of open data and collaborative mapping tools and translate content into multiple languages. Their diplomats are blogging and podcasting, and by emerging from behind their chanceries to join the public debate, they are reaching and engaging with new audiences.”

This is the opportunity to establish greater capabilities to translate metrics outcomes to the development of strategy, enhance the richness of return on engagement, develop video content in house and under budget, develop effective platforms for targeted initiatives, minimise risk opportunity, increase response timeliness, embed an employee social media use culture, decentralise response whilst adhering to policy and strategy, reach marginal demographics and generate followings at scale.

“All of this is to enhance – not replace – traditional diplomatic tactics.”

The Australian Government must amend policies to follow the growing online response and be a part of the digital diplomacy – as the lesson has become clear; the power of social engagement is real.

Join executive and operational experts from across Australia and continue the discussion on techniques and strategies to meet market expectations and engage with the public at Akolade’s Social Media in Government Conference.

After finishing University with a degree in Business Marketing, I decided to make a big jump across seas for the first time and move from the east coast of America to Sydney, Australia. I landed my first job in a sales position in the event industry and soon thereafter moved into a marketing assistant role – following I had the pleasure of interviewing with Akolade which got me to where I am today.

Akolade is a fun, innovative company that brings together people from different walks of life to implement change. As the Marketing Manager, I have the pleasure of wearing many hats which motivates me to succeed, reach people in an array of avenues, grow our events to their full potential, and raise our story. As for me, I am a kind dedicated woman who loves to work hard, exercise, cook, be social and have some fun.

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