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Digital Diplomacy

Communication Directorate

London 12:04, 15 Nov 2010

What is digital diplomacy?

Digital diplomacy is solving foreign policy problems using the internet.

What does that mean?

It's conventional diplomacy through a different medium. Through the web we can listen, publish, engage and evaluate in new and interesting ways. Crucially, we can also widen our reach and communicate directly with civil society as well as governments and influential individuals.

Why are we doing it?

Because we have to.

Those whose ideals and objectives we oppose are active and highly effective at using the web. If we don't take up the digital debate, we lose our argument by default.

Many of our partners, particularly those outside government, have an established digital presence, engaged audiences and expertise in achieving goals online. If we don't work with them, we're missing a huge opportunity.

Our shift from one-way web publishing into active digital diplomacy reflects the changing way we all use the web - as a multi-way social medium as well as a source of information. We lose credibility and cannot claim to be an open organisation if we don't take part.

How do we do digital diplomacy?

The broad steps we follow in any digital diplomacy activity are:

  • Listen: find out which blogs, groups and forums are already discussing the issue, gauge their attitudes, figure out our angle and tone
  • Publish: creatively push out our messages in news, blogs, videos, pictures, across our global web presence.
  • Engage: encourage questions, take part where the debate is happening, form partnerships with relevant organisations and online groups
  • Evaluate: explore how far we achieved what we set out to do. what could we do better next time? what did our target audience, colleagues and partners think?
Find out more about how we do digital diplomacy.

We have specific objectives to achieve to improve the effectiveness and take-up of digital diplomacy across the Foreign Office. Read about Digital Diplomacy Group's objectives.

Digital diplomacy in action

Our case studies illustrate real digital campaigns we have run and give an insight into how we plan, execute and evaluate our work. We're also frank about what has worked and what could have gone better.

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