Editor's Note: Riordan's full piece on strategic digital and public diplomacy is available here. Much has been written recently about digital diplomacy. But little gets beyond the use of social media to sell messages on...KEEP READING
Finland's Digital Diplomacy: A Case Study
Discovering Digital Diplomacy: The Case of Mediatization in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland is a recent study by Aino Huxely that describes how the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs perceives and adopts Digital Diplomacy. The author chose Finland’s MFA as a case study because this ministry has had an active online strategy over the past few decades.
The increasing importance of media, especially digital media, in society has been studied widely, from identity formation to activist movements. In international relations studies, digital media’s impact has focused considerably on public diplomacy 2.0. This focus has caused a more holistic view of digital diplomacy to be neglected. This study explores how digital media’s impacts as a part of mediatization are seen within the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. Semi-structured interviews with 11 officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were conducted. These led to the creation of three thematic fields. The first one looks into how the agency of the Ministry is seen to be impacted by digitalization. The second section looks into how community building is seen as essential. And the third part investigated how the ministry evaluates the impacts of digitalization on other ministries of foreign affairs in the light of its own experience. The finding is that the ministry is expanding into a new digital sphere and that in the process of so doing the Ministry is not a tabula rasa, but it mirrors the cultural and political context of the country within the online sphere.
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