As Australian digital diplomacy strives to catch up to rest of the world, these monthly links highlight the most creative and effective ways countries are leveraging the internet for foreign policy gain.

  • On 15 February the Lowy Institute and Facebook are hosting 'The Political Selfie, Soft Power and the Art of Digital Diplomacy' in Sydney. Stay tuned to the Institute's social media accounts for more information on how to question the panelists and watch the discussion online.
  • How publishing platform Medium is breaking Washington's op-ed habit (for example).
  • Australian Brigadier Mick Ryan outlines an Army Brigade's social media embrace in this great post.
  • A study of world leaders on Facebook ranks likeability (Obama, Modi, Erdogan, Jokowi), engagement (Macri, Hun Sen, Netanyahu) and effectiveness (Modi, Erdogan, Obama). 
  • Most world leaders have help in managing their online presence, but this report notes Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi manages his own accounts.
  • Fascinating research on the importance of 'social mediators' who bridge governments and the publics they want to reach (with a hat-tip to the work of @USNavy). 
  • Alexander Downer is back in Australia for mid-term consultations and we know because he's joined Twitter.
  • The Weibo account of China's office of public diplomacy has racked up 7.42 million fans with discussions on the war in Syria and the South China Sea among 2016 posts.
  • Analysis of the social networks of ministries of foreign affairs (MFA) reveals the US, UK, Poland, Russia and Norway are most followed by MFA peers; while Peru, Iceland, Norway, Brazil and Russia are avid followers.
  • This analysis classifies Australia as a country with downward social media mobility (along with Pakistan, Egypt, Mexico and Japan), indicating that 'offline size does not guarantee online visibility'.
  • Spain has an ambassador for digital diplomacy.
  • A South Korean NGO is training South Koreans to become cyber diplomats and global PR ambassadors.
  • Canada's approach to digital diplomacy — discussed thoroughly in this panel — is accused here of taking a 'you're either with us or against us' approach.
  • The UK FCO blogs about its experiences with Snapchat and how it is working to reach the right people. 
  • This is what it looks like for staff at the US embassy in Manila when POTUS visits: