Thursday

Public Diplomacy 2.0: Blogs by UK's Foreign Office

UK's Foreign Office has taken to blogging in a big way. Recently the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) observed the multilingual blogging day on September 26th to mark the European Day of Languages. Several FCO "blogger diplomats" are posting in different languages - French, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese etc - on diverse topics. Speaking of the initiative, Jimmy Leach, FCO’s Head of Digital Diplomacy said:
"We’re trying to use the internet to communicate and connect across international boundaries – it would be pretty self-defeating if we only did that in English."


In fact, it is really interesting to see how the FCO is trying to use new media to engage with the world. There are some really interesting, informative and useful blog posts by diplomats. The project is called Global Conversations  and is hosted at the FCO's website. Jimmy Leach, in one of his posts say that the aim is engagement. FCO is quite aware that blogging may not be able to solve foreign policy issues but FCO hopes to explain it better to worldwide audiences. Leach believes that by blogging,
"We have, perhaps even inadvertently, created the main public face to public diplomacy and digital engagement." 
Read Jimmy Leach's post on the blogging initiative "Keep the blogs alight." While Pundits and scholars debate the use of social media in Public Diplomacy, there seems to be a growing recognition among practicing diplomats that new media as a platform of engagement cannot be ignored. You need to be where conversations are happening and social media is unique because of the two way communication it facilitates.

Suggestions/Critiques welcome.

-- Madhur
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