internet diplomacy

THE mass media, including interactive social-networking tools, make you passive, can sap your initiative, leave you content to watch the spectacle of life from your couch or smartphone. Apparently even during a revolution. That is the provocative thesis of a new paper by Navid Hassanpour, a political science graduate student at Yale, titled “Media Disruption Exacerbates Revolutionary Unrest.”

August 22, 2011

Yet again we are confronted with a dilemma: when is culture an instrument of soft power? We talk about cultural diplomacy, cultural exchanges and even cultural influence. What is less discussed is how cultural paraphernalia connect to, integrate with, and ultimately enhance a nation’s soft power capital.

The U.S. State Department has been using the term 21st Century Statecraft to describe policies and activities promoting a networked society.

Libya's internet connections appear to be slowly coming back online after a six-month appeared that Libyans were making use of their newly restored connectivity - when available - to chronicle fast-moving events inside the country. Groups such as the Libya Youth Movement posted Twitter messages giving regular updates on attempts to capture Colonel Gaddafi's compound.

In terms of creating a cohesive policy around freedom of expression, communicating that policy and incorporating that policy into meaningful activities, the State Department has been coordinated and thorough in it’s design and development of a public diplomacy strategy.

Then there are quite different voices in the Muslim community — in Britain, and elsewhere. One example is Inspire, a women’s organization that before the Norwegian horror declared what it called a “jihad against violence.” The group aims to support and empower Muslim women...particularly to educate them so they can counter the arguments of children radicalized by reading on the Internet.

August 1, 2011

Some governments are using advanced technologies to chill free expression, to stifle dissent, to identify and arrest dissidents," Deputy Assistant Secretary Baer said. "Through our diplomacy and through direct support for embattled activists worldwide, we are helping people stay one step ahead of the censors, the hackers, and the brutes who beat them up or imprison them for what they say online.

Online, you can so easily find the thousand other people who share your perverted views. You then get a vicious spiral of groupthink, reinforcing the worst kind of ideology...totally divorced from everyday humanity. The real challenge is to work out how we can maximise the extraordinary capacity of the internet to open minds – and minimise its now evident tendency to close them.