Social Media and Diplomacy

I came across this TEDx talk, “How to Make a Splash in Social Media” after I watched another Alexis Ohanian at Oxford video featuring the Reddit co-founder. His 2016 talk at Oxford Union highlights the agnostic (unknowable) quality of the Internet. Anyone, with any content, can go viral online. It’s hard to predict.

There are many memorable points that Ohanian makes, including this:

What we’ve seen in social media the last ten years [2006-2016] has been the cocktail party. It has been the most superficial level of connection. Now, it’s something we need. I don’t say that derisively. We like cocktail parties. As humans we like showing people how cute our pets are, how wonderful our life is. That’s a level of connection that doesn’t go very deep. What we are seeing on platforms like Reddit, Snapchat, is a hunger for the next wave—a demand for authenticity…something that feels more real, that’s not there because of wanting to show a filtered version of yourself, but wanting to show how you really are in that moment.

Ohanian was a history major at the University of Virginia who saw the connectivity value of the Internet early on. His first business idea with his UVA computer science major friend, Steve Huffman (My Mobile Menu or “MMM”) failed to get funding but then they began to think about what web pages they went to every morning and Reddit was born. Btw, Ohanian is a bit more famous these days for being the spouse of a particularly talented tennis player.

Reddit is a social news website supported by a community of users called Redditors who have only one thing in common, shared interests with other Redditors. Reddit’s subreddit on The Donald helps Trump keep support in the White House. Durinf the 2016 presidential campaign, Reddit served as an alternative source of news for Redditors enthusiastic about Trump’s candidacy, including those who were lining up for hours to hear Trump speak in person. I went to Trump’s subreddit community threat regularly and it convinced me that Donald Trump could beat Hillary Clinton.

We Saw This Coming!

The much ballyhooed planned summit in Singapore on June 12 between US President Donald Trump and North Korean President Kim Jong-un is on shaky ground, and not due to any new nuclear weapon tests.

It has become a battle between definitions.

What does denuclearization mean? It depends on where you sit.

  • Peace is complicated
  • Obtaining peace is often an asymmetrical power game
  • Can we expect North Korea to give up its nuclear program unilaterally?
  • What confidence-building measures can the U.S., its allies, or other countries do to contribute to a lasting peace on the penninsula?

Putin (Russia) vs. Trump (USA) as Global Leaders: What the World Thinks

A Gallup International survey in fall 2017 asked the following:

If you had to choose between President’s Trump and Putin to govern your country,
which one would you chose–Trump or Putin?

Andrey Milekhin, Vice President Gallup International Association (GIA):

The choice between these two Presidents is not an easy one and at the end the candidate “against both” won. The complexity of the choice was defined by the fact that behind Trump stands the USA economic and military power, Putin on the other hand has 25 years of political experience being one of the most long-lived and sustainable among the world political leaders. To the majority of world’s population, the conservatism and reliability of Putin seems to be more appealing.

Check out the entire survey for how Putin and Trump were viewed in specific countries

Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit

A Joint Declaration was released in Tokyo, Japan on Wednesday, May 9, 2018, at the conclusion of the 7th Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit. It includes several references to public and cultural diplomacy:

Acknowledging the importance of trilateral cultural exchanges through the East Asian Cultural Cities Program, we congratulate the designation of 2018 East Asia Cultural Cities and expect that cultural exchanges among the present and previous cultural cities will be promoted. Recognizing the significance of education cooperation in deepening mutual understanding, we also praise the trilateral commitment to promoting student exchanges in the field of higher education through the expansion of Collective Actions for Mobility Program of University Students in Asia (CAMPUS Asia), and expect the discussion would continue to further promote the program.

Considering the significance of public diplomacy in enhancing understanding and friendship among the people of the three countries, we welcome the continued consultations on the trilateral forum on public diplomacy.

 

Persuasion and Power: A UK Report

The House of Lords Select Committee on Soft Power and the UK’s Influence published a 2014 Report, ‘Persuasion and Power in the Modern World’. The Committee found that British influence and effectiveness in a changed world now requires different methods of exercising power in order to safeguard national security and maintain prosperity.

This report precedes Brexit by two years.