digital diplomacy

Speed of reaction to social media trends is becoming more important in the battle between fast fashion and more established High Street retailers, say experts. [...] Topshop's global marketing director Sheena Sauvaire told the BBC's Today programme that while the concoctions on the catwalk influence High Street retail design, social media is increasingly playing a role.

President Barack Obama's act of restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba at the end of 2014 could drastically change the cultural and artistic course of the island. But Cuban artists have used video and new media to explore its past and contemplate its future for decades. The new exhibit “Hope,” which opens to the public Sunday, Sept. 17, at the art laboratory ESMoA (El Segundo Museum of Art), looks at Cuban society through new media art, from the 1970s to present day with apps, projections and other installations. 

September 13, 2017

It was only a few years ago that e-diplomacy was being heralded as an unalloyed force for good. This 21st Century form of statecraft would bring transparency and openness to the closeted world of international affairs...U.S. President Donald Trump has obviously highlighted the dangers of conducting foreign policy by social media. In the hands of the impulsive and uniformed, the smart phone becomes a dangerous weapon.

As the armed conflict in Rakhine State continues to escalate, forcing over 120,000 Rohingya Muslims from their homes, another war rages online as social media becomes the battlefield for winning hearts, minds and international support. The impact of social media in the latest clashes is proving a powerful tool with counter-narratives being thrown from each side.

In an age of 24/7 information, where there’s pressure to stand out, and a general expectation that we should react to news in real time, we need to say something as quickly and emphatically as possible – so we say it with gifs. In a medium where words might be limited, the emotional impact of gifs should be similarly direct: “They’re lingua franca,” says Dr Sarah Thornton, a San Francisco-based sociologist of culture, “They’re not determined by linguistic boundaries, and they are so simple that a child can understand them.”

Before, if you wanted to see — for example — Alexander Hamilton's letters to his wife, you had to travel to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and even then, you'd have to view them on microfilm. Now, Julie Miller, the library's curator of early American manuscripts, says the collection has been digitized. "The web site is meant to open these up to a much broader public," and given the increased interest in Hamilton, the timing is no accident.

Can T-shirts, hoodies and sports socks inspired by God – and worn by Justin Bieber – help to win disciples? Think of church merchandise and you will likely think of mugs decorated with stained glass windows or key chains with bible quotes, sold in a dusty gift shop. But things have changed: for the face of “church merch” in 2017, look in the somewhat unexpected direction of Justin Bieber.

Facebook has removed several posts made by people smugglers openly advertising to attract migrants seeking passage to Europe. Written in Arabic, many of the posts were accompanied by videos and testimonials of what the smugglers claim are successful trips across the Mediterranean from Turkey to Greece, and from Egypt to Italy. All were written in recent months, a time of year when many people attempt the journey.

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