From Delhi to Dili: Facebook Diplomacy by Ministries of Foreign Affairs in the Asia-Pacific

in The Hague Journal of Diplomacy

Summary

This article uses digital research methods to explore the use of Facebook by ministries of foreign affairs (MFAs) in several Asian locations. It contextualises this analysis by considering four factors that contribute to the growing complexity confronting public diplomacy: environmental factors (digitalised, networked media); institutional factors (diplomatic norms and traditions, and MFAs’ policies and practices); algorithmic factors (the programming that organises social media content); audience factors (social media users). The analysis shows most Facebook content posted by MFAs is driven by institutional factors. Yet this content is not the most appealing to digital publics, who are more likely to engage with content they find relevant and useful, or emotionally resonant. The article concludes that Facebook, and digital media generally, can provide multiple small opportunities for outreach, if due consideration is given to audiences’ needs and motivations. These audience factors may be the most important, but least considered, by MFAs.

  • ArchettiCristina. ‘The Impact on New Media on Diplomatic Practice: An Evolutionary Model of Change’. The Hague Journal of Diplomacy 7 (2) (2012) 181206.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • BerridgeG.R. Diplomacy: Theory and Practice (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan2010).

  • BjolaCorneliu. Digital Diplomacy: The State of the Art (London: Routledge2015).

  • BjolaCorneliu and Marcus Holmes eds. Digital Diplomacy: Theory and Practice (London: Routledge2015).

  • BucherTaina. ‘Want to Be on Top? Algorithmic Power and the Threat of Invisibility on Facebook’. New Media and Society 14 (7) (2012) 11641180.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ByrneCaitlin. ‘Introduction to the Special Issue: Recasting Soft Power for the Indo-Pacific’. Politics and Policy 45 (5) (2017) 684705.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • CullNicholas J.The Long Road to Public Diplomacy 2.0: The Internet in US Public Diplomacy’. International Relations Review 15 (1) (2013) 123139.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • CullNicholas J.Public Diplomacy: Taxonomies and Histories’. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 616 (1) (2018) 3154.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dizard Jr.Wilson. Digital Diplomacy: U.S. Foreign Policy in the Information Age (Westport, CT: Praeger2001).

  • DoleaAlina. ‘Public Diplomacy as Co-constructed Discourses of Engagement’. In The Handbook of Communication Engagement eds. Kim A. Johnston and Maureen Taylor (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley2018) 331345.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • DuncombeConstance. ‘Representation, Recognition and Foreign Policy in the Iran-US Relationship’. European Journal of International Relations 22 (3) (2016) 622645.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • DuncombeConstance. ‘Twitter and the Challenges of Digital Diplomacy’. The SAIS Review of International Affairs 38 (2) (2018) 91100.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • DuncombeConstance. ‘Emotion and Identity in the Public Realm’. The Hague Journal of Diplomacy 14 (1–2) (2019) 102116.

  • FaircloughNorman. Critical Discourse Analysis: The Critical Study of Language (Milton Park, United Kingdom: Routledge2010).

  • FlyvbergBent. ‘Five Misunderstandings about Case Study Research’. Qualitative Inquiry 12 (2) (2006) 219245.

  • GilboaEytan. ‘Searching for a Theory of Public Diplomacy’. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 616 (1) (2008) 5577.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • GillespieTarleton. Custodians of the Internet: Platforms Content Moderation and the Hidden Decisions that Shape Social Media (New Haven: Yale University Press2018).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • GrahamSarah Ellen. ‘US Public Diplomacy in the Asia Pacific: Opportunities and Challenges in a Time of Transition’. Place Branding and Public Diplomacy 4 (4) (2008) 336356.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • GrunigJames E.Public Relations and International Affairs: Effects, Ethics and Responsibility’. Journal of International Affairs 47 (1) (1993) 137162.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • HansonFergus. Revolution @State: The Spread of Ediplomacy (Sydney: Lowy Institute for International Policy2012).

  • HockingBrian. ‘Rethinking the “New” Public Diplomacy’. In New Public Diplomacy: Soft Power in International Relations ed. Jan Melissen (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan2005) 2844.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • HuijghEllen. ‘Public Diplomacy’. In The Sage Handbook of Diplomacy eds. Costas M. ConstantinouPauline Kerr and Paul Sharp (London: Sage2016) 437450.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • InnisHarold. The Bias of Communication (Toronto, ON, Canada: University of Toronto Press1951).

  • Internet World Statistics. Asia Internet Use Population Data and Facebook Statistics — June 30 2018. 2018. https://www.internetworldstats.com/stats3.htm.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • IwabuchiKoichi. ‘Pop-Culture Diplomacy in Japan: Soft Power, Nation Branding and the Question of “International Cultural Exchange”’. International Journal of Cultural Policy 21 (4) (2015) 419432.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • KampfRonitIlan Manor and Elad Segev. ‘Digital Diplomacy 2.0? A Cross-National Comparison of Public Engagement in Facebook and Twitter’. The Hague Journal of Diplomacy 10 (4) (2015) 331362.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • KimHwalbinS. Mo JangSei-Hill Kim and Anan Wan. ‘Evaluation of Sampling Methods for Content Analysis of Twitter Data’. Social Media + Society (April–June 2018) 110.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • L’EtangJacquie. ‘Public Relations and Diplomacy in a Globalized World: An Issue of Public Communication’. American Behavioural Scientist 53 (4) (2009) 607626.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ManorIlan. ‘Are We There Yet? Have MFAs Realized the Potential of Digital Diplomacy? Results from a Cross-National Comparison’. Diplomacy and Foreign Policy 1 (2) (2016) 1110.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ManorIlan. The Digitalization of Public Diplomacy (Pasadena: Palgrave Macmillan2019).

  • ManorIlan and James Pamment. ‘Towards Prestige Mobility: Diplomatic Prestige and Digital Diplomacy’. Cambridge Review of International Affairs 32 (2) (2019) 93131.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • MelissenJan ed. The New Public Diplomacy: Soft Power in International Relations (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan2005).

  • MosseriAdam. ‘Bringing People Closer Together’. Facebook Newsroom 11 January 2018. https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2018/01/news-feed-fyi-bringing-people-closer-together/.

    • Export Citation
  • MurtiBhattiprolu and R.S. Zaharna. ‘India’s Digital Diaspora Diplomacy: Operationalizing Collaborative Public Diplomacy Strategies for Social Media’. Exchange: The Journal of Public Diplomacy 5 (1) (2014) 427.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • NatarajanKalathmika. ‘Digital Public Diplomacy and a Strategic Narrative for India’. Strategic Analysis 38 (1) (2014) 91106.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • OmarB. and K. Subramanian. ‘Addicted to Facebook: Examining the Roles of Personality Characteristics, Gratifications Sought and Facebook Exposure among Youths’. GSTF International Journal on Media and Communications 1 (1) (2013) 5465.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • PammentJames. New Public Diplomacy in the 21st Century: A Comparative Study of Policy and Practice (London: Routledge2013).

  • PammentJames. ‘Articulating Influence: Toward a Research Agenda for Interpreting the Evaluation of Soft Power, Public Diplomacy and Nation Brands’. Public Relations Review 40 (1) (2014) 5059.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ParkSeJung and YonSoo Lim. ‘Information Networks and Social Media use in Public Diplomacy: A Comparative Analysis of South Korea and Japan’. Asian Journal of Communication 24 (1) (2014) 7998.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rieder Berhard. ‘Studying Facebook via Data Extraction: The Netvizz Application’. WebSci ‘13 Proceedings of the 5th Annual ACM Web Science Conference (Paris: Association for Computing Machinery 2013) 346–355.

  • SeoH. and D. Kinsey. ‘Three Korean Perspectives on U.S. Internet Public Diplomacy’. Public Relations Review 39 (5) (2013) 594596.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • SharpPaul. Diplomatic Theory of International Relations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press2012).

  • SnowNancy. ‘Rethinking Public Diplomacy’. In The Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy eds. Nancy Snow and Phillip M. Taylor (London: Routledge2009) 86100.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • SpryDamien. ‘Soft Power in East and South-East Asia’. In The Routledge Handbook of Soft Power eds. Naren ChittyLi JiGary D. Rawnsley and Craig Hayden (London: Routledge2016) 395399.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • SpryDamien. ‘Facebook Diplomacy, Click Farms and Finding “Friends” in Strange Places’. The Strategist7 September 2017. https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/facebook-diplomacy-click-farms-finding-friends-strange-places/.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • SpryDamien. ‘Facebook Diplomacy: A Data-Driven, User-Focused Approach to Facebook Use by Diplomatic Missions’. Media International Australia 168 (1) (2018) 6280.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • US Department of State and the Broadcasting Board of Governors: Office of the Inspector General. Inspection of the Bureau of International Information Programs (Washington, DC: Office of InspectionsMay 2013) 2122.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ZaharaR.S.Mapping Out a Spectrum of Public Diplomacy Initiatives’. In The Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy eds. Nancy Snow and Phillip M. Taylor (London: Routledge2009) 86100.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ZhongXin and Jiaya Lu. ‘Public Diplomacy Meets Social Media: A Study of the U.S. Embassy’s Blogs and Micro-Blogs’. Public Relations Review 39 (5) (2013) 542548.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 324 324 75
Full Text Views 26 26 8
PDF Downloads 8 8 5