Social media and e-diplomacy

Scanning embassies on Weibo

Authored by: Ying Jiang

The Routledge Handbook of Soft Power

Print publication date:  November  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138945814
eBook ISBN: 9781315671185
Adobe ISBN: 9781317369370


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Social media is one of the fastest-growing tools of modern public diplomacy. It is arguable that the perceived ease with which social media can be accessed and the low cost in comparison with other methods can make it an attractive tool for embassies as well as other organizations (Fisher 2013). Social media is an ideal communication tool for organizations needing to increase levels of social engagement while facing budgetary restraints. Social media provides an apt bridge to youthful populations (Mershon 2012). To reach out to the younger generation is one of the major goals of contemporary public diplomacy, and social media has soft power over audiences. Equally important as reaching out is listening to and understanding young peoples’ thoughts, aspirations, information-seeking and other behavior in conducting public diplomacy (Riordan 2004).

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