Thursday 21 April 2011

Friends, Followers and Policy Makers

Social Media and High-Level Advocacy in International Affairs

Facebook and Twitter are impacting even the last bastion of the traditional power establishment, the world of international affairs and diplomacy. This is not simply the wishful thinking of some new media guru a few years ahead of the curve. I'm not dreaming about the future; I'm looking at real numbers today. And no, I don't mean the counts of those who have signed up to ambassador X or Y's stream of fairly dull Tweets. "Followers" is vanity, web stats are sanity.

The specific example I'll use to prove my case comes from the International Crisis Group's recent work on Libya, but really I could use just about anything current, as we've had identical lessons from other cases, ever more so as time goes on. The following represents a trend we've seen building over the last two years.