How do World Leaders use Twitter?

As the United Nations General Assembly gets under way in New York there is a flurry of diplomatic activity on social networks and especially on Twitter. For the occasion, the Belgian Foreign Ministry and the UK Foreign Office even adapted their Twitter profiles, adding the #UNGA hashtag which helps both organisations rank higher in Twittter search.

Twitter is clearly the social network for digital diplomacy according to Twiplomacy’s recent poll. We asked world leaders, governments and foreign ministries on Twitter how they use the platform and what the benefits of Twitter are as a tool for #DigitalDiplomacy. The responses have been overwhelming. See their public replies in the Twitter Moment below.

 

“We use this Twitter handle to shine a light on the rich diversity, culture, heritage of India”, the @IndianDiplomacy account explained. The team at Sweden.se at the Swedish Institute also uses Twitter for country promotion and “to communicate facts and stories about Sweden, to create dialogue & to inspire.”

While most of the foreign ministries that replied to our query said Twitter is a tool for furthering diplomatic and foreign policy goals, the Greek Foreign Ministry summed up its use of Twitter in five points:

✅ Inform about Greek foreign policy

✅ Communicate initiatives & activities

✅ Promote issues of Greek interest & facts about #Greece

✅ Interact with users & institutional accounts

✅ Engage Greek & internatonal audience on issues of foreign & global policy

The Foreign Ministry of Uganda summed up its digital diplomacy objectives in three points:

👉 Highlight our bilateral engagement with the Regional/International Community.

👉 Promote #Uganda’s image as the Pearl of #Africa!

👉 Showcase Uganda’s commercial & economic potential.

The Spanish Foreign Ministry tweeted: “We use Twitter in three ways: to communicate our diplomatic and consular activity, to engage in dialogue with other users around the world (i.e. leaders, colleagues, journalists and citizens) and to keep us informed through different points of view.”

The Government of Malta added that “Twitter is a valuable digital resource with which to build positive engagement with local & global audiences. (…) We also employ Twitter as means to rapidly circulate information.” The Polish Foreign Ministry agreed, tweeting: “The great benefit of TT (Twitter) for diplomacy is that content travels far and fast, directly engaging and impacting people.”

“Twitter is a gateway into a bigger network where different levels of diplomacy can be explained or illustrated in just 280 characters, a short video clip or a smart infographic,” tweeted the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry.

The team at the Danish Foreign Ministry tweeted: “Twitter is both a tool used to reach a broad audience, but also a tool used to listen to and network with relevant partners.” The Israeli Foreign Ministry also noted the use of Twitter to “identify current trends.”

We also received numerous private messages which we were authorized to share below. “I use the platform to disseminate decisions and diplomatic initiatives as well as exposing my beautiful country it’s food, music culture and people to the world”, wrote Mark Brantley, the Foreign Minister of St Kitts and Nevis.

The Foreign Ministry of Ecuador noted that: “It is a useful tool to keep in constant contact with our embassies and consulates and to give a prompt response to users who ask about citizen services.”And the Foreign Ministry of Iceland summed it up beautifully: “Twitter has become an essential tool in our #DigitalDiplomacy.”