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Digital Diplomacy 2.0? A Cross-national Comparison of Public Engagement in Facebook and Twitter

In: The Hague Journal of Diplomacy
Authors:
Ronit Kampf Department of Communication, Tel Aviv University Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv 6997801 Israel ronitka@post.tau.ac.il

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Ilan Manor Department of Communication, Tel Aviv University Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv 6997801 Israel ilanman1@post.tau.ac.il

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Elad Segev Department of Communication, Tel Aviv University Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv 6997801 Israel eladseg@tau.ac.il

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Social media holds the potential to foster dialogue between nations and foreign populations. Yet only a few studies to date have investigated the manner in which digital diplomacy is practised by foreign ministries. Using Kent and Taylor’s framework for dialogic communication, this article explores the extent to which dialogic communication is adopted by foreign ministries in terms of content, media channels and public engagement. The results of a six-week analysis of content published on Twitter and Facebook by eleven foreign ministries show that engagement and dialogic communication are rare. When engagement does occur, it is quarantined to specific issues. Social media content published by foreign ministries represents a continuous supply of press releases targeting foreign, rather than domestic, populations. A cross-national comparison revealed no discernible differences in the adoption of dialogic principles. Results therefore indicate that foreign ministries still fail to realize the potential of digital diplomacy to foster dialogue.

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