Wikipedia: Medium and Model of Collaborative Public Diplomacy

In: The Hague Journal of Diplomacy
Caitlin Byrne Department of International Relations, Bond University Gold Coast, Queensland Australia

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Jane Johnston Department of Media and Communication, Bond University Gold Coast, Queensland Australia

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Public diplomacy is an inherently social endeavour, engaging public audiences at home and abroad to shape perceptions and influence foreign policy outcomes. Social media has a part to play in this, with sites such as Facebook and Twitter gaining visibility and traction as ‘must-have’ tools for public diplomacy 2.0. This article casts light on the less visible but pervasive social media platform of Wikipedia. Taking a case-study approach, the article posits that Wikipedia holds a dual relevance for public diplomacy 2.0: first as a medium; and second, as a model for public diplomacy’s evolving process. Exploring Wikipedia’s folksonomy, crowd-sourced through intense and organic collaboration, provides insights into the potential of collective agency and symbolic advocacy. The article’s findings highlight the limitations within current approaches towards public diplomacy 2.0, and offer new approaches for public diplomacy’s more progressive agenda.

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