November 11 Reading Reflections

Sandre, “Global Interconnectivity, Social Dipolomacy and Non-state Actors”:

-This article discusses the government’s current and increasingly important task of harnessing the power and reach of digital Internet technologies and social media platforms in order to carry out diplomatic agendas. I enjoyed Sandre’s description of this technological transformation’s impact on governments as a shift from “vertical hierarchies into horizontal webs…where governments are part of the game, rather than the one exclusively controlling it.” This analogy resonated with me and helps to succinctly elucidate the emerging challenge that social media and network systems have engendered against government hegemony. Interconnectivity is the key characteristic of the present relationships between governments and their publics. Social diplomacy now not only refers to the ability of governments to control the messages being conveyed through the Internet, but also the national activists have a means of mobilization that eliminates the limitations of physical distance. Foreign policy has had no choice but to evolve and become interconnected to the procedural forces of social networking.

Sandre, “Fast Diplomacy, the future of Foreign Policy?”:

-The most intriguing inclusion in this article I believe was the quoting of State Dept. spokesperson Nuland, “we want to see all of our embassies have active Twitter fees” in order to produce “what will be most impactful in terms of conveying the views of the U.S. government in terms of having a direct dialogue with the people of the country.” This statement was a perfect case study of Sandre’s aforementioned assertions about the emergent role of Non-state actors as well as the inherent interconnectivity that allows social media users to reach a potentially endless audience. Sandre also questions whether the government’s increased use of the Internet technologies and social media platforms as a means for completing diplomatic processes denigrates our foreign policy. I agree with her suggestions that it all depends on how these tools are used and that potentially digital diplomacy could be highly beneficial and engender more effective communication amongst government officials.

Nye, “Public Diplomacy and Soft Power”:

I really enjoyed Nye’s definition and analysis of soft power when put into the context wherein it describes the ability to use attraction to influence other to want what you want. In my SIS 641 class we often discuss the topic of frame of mind and perceived realities. I felt this analysis of soft power resonated greatly with what we discussed in Dr. Weaver’s course in that one’s perceptions of reality is far greater and more important than reality itself. The use of soft power has the potential to change others perceptions of reality. This is a very powerful statement and one that I think should be understood for those intending to execute soft power within public diplomacy.

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