Twitter diplomacy refers to the use of the social media platform Twitter by government officials, diplomats, and other high-level individuals for public diplomacy and conduct of diplomatic communicaiton.
Some examples of Twitter diplomacy include announcements of policy decisions, public statements on current events or international crises, and exchanges of messages between political leaders. One example of the use of Twitter for diplomatic signalling was an exchange in 2013 by then-US Secretary of State John Kerry, who used Twitter to engage with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. In a tweet, Secretary Kerry said:
‘Happy Nowruz! Look forward to engaging with you and President Rouhani to find a more hopeful future.’
Zarif responded with a tweet of his own, saying:
‘Have a blessed Nowruz. Iran is ready for constructive engagement. #Nowruz.’
This exchange was the first step in successful negotiations between two hostile countries.
While Twitter can be a useful diplomatic tool, it also has limitations, including the risk of miscommunication or misinterpretation, the potential for messages to be taken out of context, and the lack of nuance that can be conveyed in 280 characters less. The term Twiplomacy was also coined as a shorter name for Twitter diplomacy.
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