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Thursday, October 21, 2021

The Impact of Twitter Diplomacy on International Relations

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Since the invention of the radio, the demeanor of diplomacy has transformed very much. This invention has provided leaders of the world a versatile platform to convey their messages. But the craft of diplomacy has upgraded very much since the invention of the internet. In the 21st century, the world has converted into a global village, and people are just away from each other with a single click. This has paved the way for diplomacy to work more effectively and efficiently.

Coming of many technological platforms in the 21st century, such as Twitter and Facebook, had provided many world leaders with opportunities to express their words through these platforms. There are also many other social media platforms than Twitter and Facebook, which leaders have used to conduct diplomacy, but conducting diplomacy through these platforms has made diplomacy lose the basic essence of diplomacy, i.e., a sense of formality. On the other side, it has made diplomacy easy to be carried out by the states in this century of technology.

Twitter Diplomacy

Twitter Diplomacy, also called ‘’Twiplomacy,’’ refers to traditional and digital diplomacy, and Twitter, when occurs together. This works in a very unique and simple way. In this type of diplomacy, a leader of the world tweets about any world event or policy framework, which is then followed by the reply of other leaders in the form of countering, raising a question, or defending against the tweet, and then eventually adding up the public through open discussion and finally leading towards the shaping of public opinion. Bound by decorum and formality, it makes the twiplomacy different from traditional diplomacy.

Twitter has been serving as a flexible form of the political public square for different domestic and world affairs in the last few years for different world political leaders. The use of Twitter has become an integral part of contemporary international relations, which is largely driven by the popularity of social media in the modern world to discharge diplomatic functions. After all, a new form of diplomacy has been established on Twitter by incorporating itself into augmenting traditional diplomatic functions such as deliberation and negotiation.

We have seen that social media have rehabilitated the course of foreign policy by incorporating the general public to shape foreign policy. Many countries’ diplomatic services use Twitter to communicate directly with the people and lend a more participatory character to foreign policy debates.  For example, we have seen in the past how social media platforms were used in the War of Terrorism by the US to shape the opinion of the public against the terrorist, and this vulnerability of the public to the information through media has made to choose between the terrorism by incorporating their country into it. Nonetheless, diplomacy has become very easy to be conducted with the arrival of technology in the 21st century.

Benefits of Twiplomacy

Following are the benefits which have come with the Twiplomacy:

  • Communication between the government and the public has been made easy with the Twiplomacy. With the Twiploamcy, a platform has been established where both the government and the public participation make the policy process more satisfactory. Moreover, if the policy is made by the government, which is not satisfactory, then people can send tweets directly to the concerned department. With the Twiplomacy, the government can also communicate with its citizen within and outside the country. They can also communicate with other governments of the world on Twitter. For example, Ahead of the June 2019 G20 meeting in Japan, for instance, US President Donald Trump tweeted from his account: “I look forward to speaking with Prime Minister Modi about the fact that India, for years having put very high tariffs against the United States, just recently increased the tariffs even further. This is unacceptable, and the tariffs must be withdrawn!”
  • This platform is also beneficial in the management of crises during any tragedy. For Example, in 2019, a plane was crashed when it left Ethiopia’s capital, and there were four Indians on board this flight. Ministry of External Affairs used this platform to get in touch with one of the deceased’s families in the airplane crash.
  • Twitter can also enhance the image of one country in the eyes of the people of different countries of the world. Many countries with their state department accounts try to portray their state department’s image more efficiently on this platform.

Disadvantages of Twiplomacy

  • The flip side of facilitating contact between government officials and diplomats and people is that the casual climate may compromise traditional diplomacy on Twitter. Also, putting diplomats on sites such as Twitter causes an environment of confusion among people, which may serve as a moral deflator. Trump’s tweeted that he has canceled his “secret meeting” with the Afghan President and Taliban leaders at Camp David provoked suspicion and surprise over Twitter as legitimate national security considerations were reduced to casual Saturday night tweets.
  • This platform can be proved helpful in escalating the conflict between the two countries. For example, on July 3, 2-17, after the missile launching by North Korea. Donald Trump mockingly tweeted: “North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life?”
  • Moreover, it has proved to be raising many security concerns for the states. Many officials have unexpectedly reported that states’ secret on this platform. Another problem with Twiplomacy is that whatever states post on this platform remains there, and thus by case if states change their diplomatic stance, it serves as evidence against the states.

Concludingly, as everything has both pros and cons, the same as here with Twitter, it has both. But in the 21st century, where the world has become a global village, then states must now adopt new means to carry put their diplomacies and Twiplomacy is one such thing, which has come on front and also it has been proved beneficial on many platforms for the states to carry out their diplomacy.

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Muhammad Adnanhttps://www.thewallet.com.pk
Muhammad Adnan is a student of BS International Relations 8th semester from NDU (National Defense University).
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