Bootcampmarketing.net, a unique website, has just been launched by experienced internet marketing expert Rick Porter, explaining how to best utilize different social media platforms to make inroads in this competitive market. This website is different from hundreds of other websites of a similar nature because it offers tons of video presentations from different sources, covering social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, etc. Some videos offering tips on business specific marketing strategies have also been included in this new website. With the ever increasing cost of online training programs, websites like Bootcampmarketing.net are certainly great resources for the newbies in the world of internet based marketing.
Many young and bright individuals are now opting for a home based business career instead of full time jobs in this tough job market, and online marketing is one of the most preferred options for most of them. The importance of social media marketing is immense in building any online business venture. This can be a particularly useful alternative for the beginners because they are low cost and have a worldwide reach. There is no easier way to build better customer relations than the social media networks. Unlike most other forms of marketing, social media has a long lasting presence and allows for instant evaluation of the result.
Making the most efficient use of these excellent marketing platforms requires extensive training. Bootcampmarketing.net would relieve the new entrepreneurs from spending a fortune to learn these tricks by directing them to the best social media tools on the internet. Within a brief period since its launch, the social media software and marketing videos in the website have received a huge number of hits. Talking about his intention behind creating this new website, the owner of Bootcampmarketing.net Rick Porter says, “The industry is extremely dynamic these days. This is just an effort to help business owners keep themselves updated with the latest developments in social media”. He also added that new videos would be added regularly to Bootcampmarketing.net.
About Bootcampmarketing.net: This is a brand new website launched recently by experienced online marketing professional Rick Porter. With tons of video presentations, the website promises to be an excellent training resource to learn the techniques of social media marketing.
Contact: Rick Porter 401-808-1371 Website: http://bootcampmarketing.net/
Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/social-media-marketing/social-media-boot-camp/prweb10066414.htm
Over the past several decades, we have all worked very hard at creating Information Age companies. And that has become part of the current problem. It’s time to create Communication Age organizations. Unfortunately, many companies are woefully behind.
What’s the difference between informing and communicating? Informing is static. It’s one-way and doesn’t always cause action. In contrast, communicating is engaging. It’s two-way and prompts the party you’re communicating with to do something. Informing is passive; communicating is active. Continue reading »
Mr Alan Dormer, Services Science Leader says that, with millions of posts and countless conversations happening every minute, organisations trying to make sense of social media can easily find themselves overwhelmed.
“There are 11.5 million Facebook accounts in Australia and over two million Twitter accounts. So analysing social media posts to find relevant information is like looking for a needle in a haystack.
“It’s a classic big data problem. But with our research in data mining, textual analysis and data visualisation, we’re well placed to tackle it,” Mr Dormer said.
So far, organisations are using the software for three main reasons – reputation management, exploring topics and issues important to the community, and early detection of emergencies or outbreaks. And it’s showing promising signs of increasing efficiency and productivity.
CSIRO’s social media tools can spot bursts of activity around key words of interest to emergency services, such as “fire”.
Prof Allan Fels, Chair of the National Mental Health Commission, says he’s found social media analysis gives his organisation insights into community thinking on mental health and wellbeing.
“We believe mental health and suicide prevention is an issue for all Australians. The CSIRO social media engagement tools help us identify key issues on a daily basis and provide social media reports which are easy to understand and quick to produce”, he said.
The Commission plans to use the software to gauge community response to their report cards on Australia’s mental health issues and services. The first is due out later this year.
CSIRO used its own social media analysis tools to find false claims about coal seam gas research that appeared in social media. This allowed CSIRO to address the misinformation quickly.
And a CSIRO software tool to analyse Twitter posts recently gave Queensland fire services an extra 25 minutes’ warning that a grass fire was threatening an outback hospital.
Tweets about the fire emerged well ahead of any official alerts and within minutes, details such as the fire’s location and direction were appearing on Twitter, allowing emergency managers to evacuate the hospital safely.
Mr Dormer said the social media analysis tools are being developed with government for government – the Australian Government Department of Human Services being a key partner. Business is also starting to show interest.
“We’ve formed an ‘early adopters group’ of innovators in government to help us develop the social media tools beyond the prototype stage, trial them in real situations, and give us feedback to make them more useful”, he said.
Yes, say researchers at Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business who conducted what is believed to be the first large-scale case study confirming the value of social media for vehicle quality management. The researchers developed a computer-based information system that provides auto manufacturers an efficient way to discover and classify vehicle defects.
“A lot of useful but hidden data on vehicle quality is embedded in social media that is largely untapped by auto manufacturers,” said Alan Abrahams, assistant professor of business information technology, who led the study together with Weiguo Fan, professor of accounting and information systems.
Abrahams said consumers rely heavily on the Internet for information about automobile safety and reliability, looking up vehicle consumer surveys, insurance industry statistics, manufacturer websites, and complaints filed with regulatory agencies. But in addition to being consumers of safety and reliability information, he said, automobile users are also producers of such information, using traditional Internet media (such as emails or online forms) and, increasingly, social media tools (such as bulletin boards, blogs, and Twitter).
Whether in public discussion forums, social networks, product reviews, visitor comments, wikis, or user-written news articles, user-contributed content is characterized by variable quality, said Fan.
It is, however, a daunting challenge for firms to process the “unstructured and dynamic” content of social media in order to detect the useful nuggets on vehicle defects that are buried among millions of unrelated or immaterial posts. So Abrahams and Fan sought to understand and prioritize the vast volume of consumer-produced automotive information and to ferret out and analyze the safety and performance issues.
Analyzing online discussion forums for owners of Honda, Toyota, and Chevrolet vehicles, the researchers developed and tested a decision support system that can be used to discover vehicle defects from social media posts across multiple automotive brands. (A decision support system is a computer-based information system that helps managers make decisions.)
“Vehicle quality management professionals would greatly benefit in terms of productivity by employing a vehicle defect discovery system like ours to sift defects from unrelated posts,” Abrahams said.
Read more about the study by Abrahams and Fan on mining social media for vehicle defect information, to be published in the Decision Support Systems journal, and why conventional sentiment analysis is a poor indicator of auto defects in the fall 2012 issue of Pamplin magazine.
Business owners and managers: Learn how Patch can help you increase your online visibility and social media presence at this fun, sunrise event!
On Nov. 8, Royal Oak Patch will hold a free social media training and business meet-up at the AOL Offices at 34100 Woodward Avenue #200 in Birmingham from 7-9 a.m.
This free, two-hour event is designed to teach business owners how to improve their connection to the community online.
Business owners can learn about how to take better advantage of social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter, with mini-workshops delivered by Patch staffers on how to use Patch and add your own content to the online conversation.
RSVP by filling out the form posted above to attend Main Street U. However, you don’t have to register in advance to attend — you can register in-person at the workshop.
For more information, email Patch Ad Manager Catherine Grace or editor Judy Davids.
More than two-thirds of social media users are politically active and the gap between Republicans and Democrats on social media use is now virtually nonexistent, according to a new Pew research poll.
This is a massive victory for Republicans, especially because social media use has been heavily dominated by liberals in the past.
According to the study of 2, 253 adults this summer who are 18 years old or older, 34 percent of Republicans use social media tools to encourage people to take political action compared with 36 percent of Democrats. And 41 percent of Republicans are likely to comment on and offer opinions about political postings and articles on social media compared with 42 percent of Democrats.
Likewise, 39 percent of Republicans re-post political content written by others compared to just 34 percent of Democrats.
Republicans’ ability to close the social media gap is crucial this election year because so many young people say they get their news from social gap. In a separate study published last month, Pew said the number of 18 -24 year-olds who told Pew they “ ‘got news or news headlines’ yesterday on social networking sites” such as facebook or Google+ had nearly tripled in the last two years. And among Americans ages 25-29 it has more than doubled.
Young people were a huge part of President Barack Obama’s successful campaign in 2008. And a major reason the Obama campaign was able to engage so many young voters was because it quickly took over the social media sphere, leaving John McCain and Republicans in the dust.
“Anyone surveying the digital political landscape would have to be struck by the apparent strength of Democrats online,” said an 2008 election analysis on Bloomberg Businessweek published a day after the election. “A Forrester report from last December found Democrats to be at least 10% more likely to participate in all forms of online social activity than the average U.S. adult.”
Conservatives have obviously learned from their past mistakes since the last presidential election and are now tied with or leading Democrats in almost every area studied by Pew.
One area that Republicans are still substantially behind Democrats, though, is using the like button on facebook to help promote political posts. Only 42 percent of conservative Republicans said they are likely to use the “like” button to promote political material compared with 52 percent Democrats. How many “likes” a post has determines where it is located on users’ homepage (toward the top, toward the bottom, or not at all) how long it stays on users’ homepage. Thus, it’s important for Republicans to understand the importance of utilizing the like button to make sure content they agree with gets the maximum amount of views.
Still, if President Barack Obama reduces his share of the youth vote this election, its clear all that time Republicans spent posting on facebook about Obama’s failed policies and unkept promises will have made a difference.
RAP Editor Francesca Chambers contributed to this report.
FOTAS is on the social media bandwagon using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs and the FOTAS website. These tools are used for better communication. Events like the Mutt Strut walk for the animals at Woofstock on Nov. 10, PetSmart Adoption Days or the need for dog and cat food or stuffed animals for our shelter pups; all are online.
Our website continues to evolve and is now connected to other social media tools.
With your online participation, we could be so much more effective in reaching our audience: all residents and businesses from the entire Aiken County community. We want to tell you all about current programs, needs, the new county shelter and the services it will provide.
Social media has a great impact here. It can be fun and easy to spread the word to the entire county.
With 880-plus Facebook followers, FOTAS can reach upward of 10,000 people viewing our posts in any given week. Our posts are shared, and our message spreads!
How amazing that we can “speak” to you and to people you know and then to their friends and friends of their friends – all from one message posted on our FOTAS Facebook page, our website or a tweet. It’s like the telephone game without the distortion of the message!
Like us on Facebook to receive FOTAS updates along with friends updates. Follow us on Twitter. Visit our website for more information and direct access to these sites.
Share our latest message! When we post something of interest, like our capital campaign, a cute kitten or great dog, share it on your Facebook page or with individual friends who may share your interest in animals or just tweet it out.
Think of the possibilities and all of the people we could reach! If they want to help, they can; if not, no harm, no foul. No phone calls or personal pleas for help involved. People can choose to read our message or not. No annoying spam like emails need be sent out through this process.
One of our dogs was adopted by a family in Louisiana due to a shared post! All events and adoptable animals’ photos are on our website, Facebook and Petfinder, thanks to Annette, Susan and Elizabeth.
These powerful tools have led to pet adoptions, assistance from and partnerships with other organizations, brought in donations for specific needs and even helped find lost pets. Feel free to tweet messages from @FotasAiken and reach even more people!
Our website has a moving YouTube video tour of our current shelter, as well as fun videos from past events like last year’s Fall Steeplechase!
Please use these powerful tools to help FOTAS reach the entire community that the Aiken County Animal Shelter serves.
With your help, we can reach those with the interest and resources to help us attain our biggest goal yet: to build and outfit a new Aiken County Animal Shelter by the end of 2013! Let’s help the abandoned animals of our county.
FOTAS volunteers work with the Aiken County Animal Shelter, 411 Wire Road. For more information, email email@example.com or visit www.fotasaiken.org.
More hiring managers are using social media websites like Facebook and LinkedIn to connect with potential job candidates, but not as many are taking full advantage of the tools as you may think.
According to a new survey of 1,500 HR leaders and hiring managers in six countries by Dimensional Research and SuccessFactors, social media and mobile devices are being used by 39 percent of those surveyed to communicate with job candidates. LinkedIn and Facebook were the most popular social media tools, each used by 17 percent of those respondents, followed by texting (12 percent), Skype (10 percent) and Twitter (10 percent).
Social media and mobile devices are being used more heavily by HR leaders and hiring managers to actually identify potential job candidates, however. Fifty-one percent of respondents said they have used such tools and devices to identify job candidates, with resume search sites (24 percent), LinkedIn (24 percent), Facebook (23 percent) and Twitter (12 percent) being the most popular tools, the survey found.
“The hiring process is no longer just about the face-to-face or phone interview. In some industries and regions, leveraging mobile, social media and online tools is a regular part of the recruiting process,” said Dr. Karie Willyerd, chief learning officer of SuccessFactors. “Companies that don’t embrace these tools risk being left behind and losing strong candidates, especially when trying to grab the attention of the Millennial generation.”
Among employees who are hired, 82 percent ask for additional perks and benefits, including tech devices. For example, 17 percent of employees had requested smartphones and tablets for personal use, while other popular perks requested were free drinks (18 percent) and time off to volunteer (16 percent).
Meanwhile, the study identified several differences among the three generations in the workplace. For example, Millennial job candidates (those age 33 and younger) were most likely to request job training (40 percent), job perks (33 percent) and flexible work hours (23 percent), while Millennial employees were most likely to request mentoring opportunities (42 percent), training (35 percent) and non-scheduled bonuses (28 percent).
Generation X job candidates, however, were most likely to ask for higher pay (36 percent), hiring bonuses (29 percent) and higher jobtitles (24 percent), while Gen X employees were more likely to request promotions (44 percent), flexible work locations (39 percent) and non-scheduled bonuses (38 percent). Baby Boomers’ requests reflected their stage in nearing retirement, with the most popular benefits requested being more vacation time (12 percent), hiring bonuses (7 percent) and flexible work hours (7 percent) by job candidates. Boomer employees were most interested in reduced work hours (14 percent), extended leaves of absence (14 percent) and flexible work locations (7 percent).
Budget Uncertainty Breeds Workforce Challenges
Workforce challenges are among the top difficulties facing the federal IT community over the next five years, largely because of the high degree of uncertainty about the future of technology spending, according to a new report from the government-industry group TechAmerica Foundation.
The latest forecast projects agency IT spending will rise slightly from $73.5 billion in fiscal 2013 to $77.2 billion in fiscal 2018. But those numbers represent a slight decrease in IT spending when adjusted for inflation.
In particular, budget uncertainty is amplifying IT transformation challenges, and this uncertainty is sure to cause some difficulty in recruiting, retaining and managing the federal IT workforce. An uptick in federal retirements, extended pay freezes and decreases in training opportunities, for example, could have an impact on agency IT programs over the next five years, TechAmerica found.
At the Defense Department, integrated training for military, civilians and contractors also is needed, and the department should require that its workers maintain a lifecycle training schedule and obtain the appropriate certifications, the forecast noted.
How important are training and workforce issues to your agency IT shop over the next five years?
In this intensive two-day masterclass you’ll learn how to use social media as an effective tool for business – with expert insight from lead tutor Rob Hyde (of We Are Social) and a roster of expert speakers.
The course is aimed at small businesses looking to optimise their social presences and who are looking for ways to expand their business using social media; larger businesses and/or brands who may be more established but find social media a minefield, and are still unconvinced by its value )’why wouldn’t we just buy some billboards if we had the money?’); or anyone looking to build a product or service who is interested in how social media could help do this effectively, and is bemused by the variety of platforms on offer. Should you be on all of them? Or just a few? Or none?
Attendees will leave with an understanding of how they can best use the right social media tools appropriate for their business, the basic principles of community management and how to measure your return on investment in social.
You’ll take away course materials on the dos and don’ts of effective social media content for brands and businesses, how to use Facebook ads effectively, and how to develop a content strategy for your business.
The course is designed to help you with: • Choosing the right social media tools appropriate for your business • The basic principles of community management • The dos and don’ts of effective social media content for brands and businesses – why should people care about my business? And once they do, how can we keep them engaged? • An introduction to strategic thinking in social • An understanding of how to measure your ROI in social – what does success look like? • Using Facebook ads
Some basic understanding of social media will be assumed, including: • Facebook brand pages • basic familiarity/awareness of major blogging platforms such as WordPress and Tumblr • Basic understanding of Twitter • Basic understanding of some of the ways brands have embraced social media, and how the classic purchase funnel has is becoming obsolete – it’s now much more of a 2-way process that evolves over simply ‘broadcasting’ and hoping people will buy your product • Basic principles of community management, though not essential
Rob Hyde is a Senior Account Manager at We Are Social, who are a leading London-based social media agency with 8 offices worldwide, with clients including Heinz, Unilever, Heineken, eBay, Jaguar, Intel, Moët Chandon Expedia. Rob began his career in the music industry 12 years ago PM (pre-Myspace), before going on to work on a number of successful digital marketing campaigns for brands, film and broadcast clients including Red Bull, Universal, Sony, Warner, Virgin and Channel 4, all with a strong social media focus.
Dates: Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 January 2013 Times: 10am-5pm Venue: The Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU Price: £400 (inclusive of VAT, booking fees, lunch and refreshments) Maximum class size: 20
They’re using their feeds, they have lots of followers, but most of them don’t really know what they’re doing — yet.
South Korean President Lee Myung Bak films the media on a mobile phone before photo with other leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit. (Reuters)
Call it Twiplomacy, Facebook diplomacy, weiplomacy, or simply digital diplomacy, the use of social networks has become an integral part of government communication. The new tools of the “21st Century Statecraft” — a term coined by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton — are rapidly replacing fax and telex, and are becoming as important for government leaders, ministers, and diplomats as the telephone, email, and diplomatic cables. In the near future, no one will be able to become a leader without digital followers, and no diplomat will be well-positioned to represent his or her country if he or she does not personally engage on social networks. And it is not the size of the followership that matters, but the quality of the conversations.
The year 2012 has seen a marked increase in the use of social media — especially Twitter and Facebook — by heads of state and government, ministers, and diplomats. The entire governments of Chile and Mexico, and their ministers, are on Twitter. The most recent world leaders to join the social network are E.U. Commission President José Manuel Barroso (@BarrosoEU) and U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron (@David_Cameron), who signed up on October 6, 2012, immediately prior to the U.K. Conservative Party Conference. Neither of them are tweeting personally. David Cameron once said in a radio interview, “The trouble with Twitter, the instantness of it — too many twits might make a twat.”
Twitter is probably one of the easiest social-media tools to use in government communication. It allows the broadcast of short, 140-character messages to a large audience, well beyond any country’s borders. Despite receiving massive abuse in the first hours of his foray into the Twitterverse, David Cameron’s team kept his 120,000 followers abreast of his activity during the party conference. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez used Twitter to rally his 3.6 million followers and secure re-election on October 7, 2012. Twitter helped Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves debunk a negative news story about his country in the New York Times, and Rwandan Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi uses it to converse directly with his followers every Friday.
A senior leader of an international organization once argued that he couldn’t possibly express his thoughts in only 140 characters. On the contrary, the 140-character limitations of Twitter help to focus the message. Like it or not, we live in an era of sound bites and snippet news. Today, speeches are written with the aim of facilitating and encouraging sharing on social networks. The anaphora of François Hollande — “I, as President of the Republic …” — repeated 15 times during the presidential debate with his opponent Nicolas Sarkozy during the 2012 French presidential campaign, became an instant Internet meme and a trending topic on Twitter.
If Twitter had existed in 1963, “I have a dream” would have become Martin Luther King’s most retweeted tweet. The historic quote still resonates half a century later. Come to think of it, all famous quotes can easily fit into 140 characters. Add a link to the tweet and followers can read more on a website or in a blog post, which often go hand in hand with the Twitter feed. A tweet is like the headline of an article: If the headline is well written and enticing, you will read the rest of the article; clumsy and badly worded, you will skip over it.
Congratulations Zambia on your victory to the Africa Cup finals. The Uganda Cranes played very well but in soccer luck is part of the game.
No other social network allows a government message to go viral or potentially reach such a worldwide audience. There is no other social network that allows for direct and unfettered interaction with world leaders. Today, anyone can send an “@” mention to a world leader on Twitter. That leader might not see the “@” mention personally, but his or her staff will definitely get the message.
The power of social networks such as Twitter and Facebook is that they connect people globally and bring citizens closer to their leaders. The social-media team of the White House has best understood how to connect the president directly with his constituents using all major social networks available. The White House uses Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, and even Reddit to connect with Americans. U.S. President Barack Obama has sat down for two YouTube interviews, where the questions were sourced from the YouTube community via video. He travelled to Facebook headquarters for a town hall meeting moderated by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who put questions from Facebook users to the president. The U.S. administration organized a twitter town hall at the White House, moderated by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey. Obama used the occasion to publicly write and send a personal tweet signed “bo,” sending himself the first question to kick off the QA session. In the run-up to the 2012 U.S. elections, Obama’s social-media activity picked up, culminating with an AMA — “ask me anything” — session on Reddit. Obama remains the most digitally savvy political leader in the world, with a massive Twitter following of more than 20 million.
That said, Obama’s (@BarackObama) Twitter activity is clearly targeted at his constituents and re-election. His campaign account rarely mentions any foreign-policy statements, and systematically blanks his international trips. G8 and G20 meetings with his peers are generally not reported on his personal Twitter feed. At the recent General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, most world leaders used Twitter to live tweet their remarks, or to share pictures of their bilateral meetings. There was no mention of the president’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly on the @BarackObama account, which tweeted about bumper stickers and NFL referees instead.
Who is tweeting personally?
Barack Obama rarely tweets personally, and if he does, his “bo” tweets become national news stories. Thirty heads of state and government do their own tweeting. The most conversational are Ugandan Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi (@AmamaMbabazi) and the prime minister of Rwanda, Pierre Damien Habumuremyi (@HabumuremyiP), both of whom engage personally with their followers on Twitter. Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati (@Najib_Mikati) holds occasional Twitter chats with his followers, while Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak (@NajibRazak) invited his 500,000th follower for breakfast. The Croatian government organizes regular tweet-ups for 50 lucky followers at its government offices.
Unfortunately, all too often, politicians only discover Twitter during election campaigns, when their every word and deed is suddenly documented by their digital teams in 140 characters or less. Once elected, these accounts often go silent. Among the famous dormant profiles are the accounts of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (@DilmaBR) and French President François Hollande (@FHollande): Both abandoned their Twitter followers after taking office. Interestingly, both accounts have nonetheless continued to gain followers, indicating a clear desire on the part of the people to connect with their leaders.
‘The most effective diplomats will carry iPads rather than letters of credence.’
Some argue that politicians simply do not have the time to engage personally on social networks that are often seen as a distraction. This might be true, but if world leaders have time to read newspapers or answer letters (as Barack Obama still does each week), they should surely take the time to at least dip into their Twitter feed for half an hour each week to engage in an unscripted and impromptu Twitter chat with their followers.
Barack Obama might be the most followed world leader, but he is not the best-connected, having failed to establish mutual Twitter relations with his peers around the world. Obama only follows two other government leaders – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (@MedvedevRussiaE), and the prime minister of Norway, Jens Stoltenberg ( @JensStoltenberg). Obama and the White House are not following any other G20 leaders, happily ignoring Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (@PMHarper), Mexican President Felipe Calderón (@FelipeCalderon), and French President François Hollande (@FHollande). The White House follows @Number10Gov and Chilean President Sebastián Piñera (@SebastianPinera), but has not yet acknowledged the arrival of the U.K. prime minister (@David_Cameron) on Twitter.
More than a quarter of all world leaders and governments (76) follow Barack Obama, and 61 follow the White House ( @WhiteHouse), according to a recent study conducted by Burson-Marsteller on Twitter relations between world leaders. It is unclear why @BarackObama and the White House do not reciprocate the favor: Is it a political decision, or simply ignorance of the power of direct relations on Twitter?
Burson-Marsteller’s Twiplomacy study found that E.U. President Herman van Rompuy (@euHvR) is the best-connected world leader, mutually following 11 peers. Australia’s prime minister (@JuliaGillard) is the second-best-connected leader, with 10 mutual connections, followed by the Korean presidency (@BlueHouseKorea), the U.K. government ( @Number10gov), and the Russian prime minister (@MedvedevRussia), all of whom follow (and are followed by) nine other world leaders. However, almost half of all world leader accounts don’t follow any of their peers on Twitter.
Welcome to our friday twitter session, i will be receiving your questions on Government Programs, from 2 to 3pm
Surely world leaders should follow each other on Twitter, particularly if their countries have good diplomatic relations. Not following a peer on Twitter says a lot about the relationship between two people, and, by extension, about the relations between their countries. Not following someone back on Twitter is tantamount to a diplomatic snub, and blocking someone on Twitter will soon be synonymous with severing diplomatic ties. The violent and undiplomatic Twitter attack in May 2012 by former Colombian president Álvaro Uribe Vélez on Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez, calling him an “assassin,” was an example of how a Twitter spat might get out of hand and how just 140 characters could be the spark that starts a war.
Some governments leave the tweeting and relationship-building to their foreign-affairs ministers and diplomats, whose role is to represent their country. Eighty-two countries’ foreign ministries currently have Twitter accounts, and 47 ministers of foreign affairs are personally on Twitter. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius is the latest to join the flock. Until recently, he followed just one account, but since his British colleague, Foreign Secretary William Hague (@WilliamJHague), tweeted a Follow Friday on Sept. 28, 2012, Fabius has begun following his foreign-minister peers in Australia, Canada, Israel, Italy, Norway, Poland, Rwanda, Sweden, Turkey, and the U.K., who are all personally on Twitter.
Many of the tweeting foreign ministers have established Twitter relations by mutually following each other. Canada’s John Baird (@JohnBairdOWN) is following the U.K.’s William Hague (@WilliamJHague), Mexico’s Patricia Espinosa (@PEspinosaC), Italy’s Giulio Terzi (@GiulioTerzi), Sweden’s Carl Bildt (@CarlBildt), and Australia’s Bob Carr (@BobJCarr). The odd one out is Bob Carr (@BobJCarr), who is the only foreign minister not following his colleagues back. The two most popular foreign ministers on Twitter, Abdullah bin Zayed (@ABZayed) of the United Arab Emirates, and Turkey’s Ahmet Davutoğlu (@Ahmet_Davutoglu) – who each have more than 400,000 followers – do not connect with all their peers, either. Abdullah bin Zayed follows the foreign ministers of Bahrain (@KhalidAlKhalifa) and Jordan (@NasserJudeh), while Ahmet Davutoğlu only follows Sweden’s Carl Bildt (@CarlBildt).
Carl Bildt is the third-most-followed foreign minister, with 158,000 followers. He famously used Twitter to get in touch with his colleague in Bahrain: “@khalidalkhalifa Trying to get in touch with you on an issue,” he tweeted. Carl Bildt, on Twitter since Jan. 2, 2009, is an early adopter of new technology. When he was the prime minister of Sweden, he became the first foreign leader to send an email to then U.S. president Bill Clinton. The Swedish foreign minister and his counterpart in Finland ( @AlexStubb) are two ministers worth following – both write thoughtful and entertaining tweets to give a glimpse of their daily policy-making without ever being too promotional.
English is the language of Twiplomacy
Not surprisingly, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius tweets in French, the traditional language of diplomacy. However, it is English that has become the main language of Twiplomacy. In order to reach a large global English-speaking audience, the foreign ministries of Belarus, Estonia, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Netherlands, Poland, Qatar, Russia, Sweden, Thailand, and Turkey have all set up separate English Twitter channels alongside their local language feeds. The French and Turkish foreign ministries have even set up specific accounts in Arabic, an indication of the growing importance of that region for both countries.
thanks to @noynoyaquino the people of the Philippines for their warm hospitality. A historic visit that’s brought us closer together.
Over the past year, foreign offices have encouraged their embassies and diplomats to use Twitter. The government of Israel’s Twitter activity is probably the best example of how to use Twitter to shape foreign policy. The Israeli foreign ministry has Twitter accounts for 124 of its missions, each with the same branding — the official emblem of the State of Israel - and tweets in more than 23 languages, Arabic and Persian included. The @Israel account, managed by the foreign ministry’s digital-diplomacy team, serves as the focal point for Israel’s governmental Twitter activity. The account maintains updated lists of its 124 missions,47 government officials, and 33 government offices on Twitter. During the opening ceremony of the London Olympics, the account campaigned for a minute of silence in memory of the 11 Israeli athletes killed during the Munich Olympics 40 years ago, tweeting the hashtag #StandForMunich11 every 11 minutes.
By comparison, the U.S. State Department lists98 embassies, 23 consulates, and five missions on Twitter. The U.K. foreign office in London boasts 80 embassies, consulates, and missions on Twitter, while the French foreign ministry counts 58 embassies and consulates, and the Russian foreign ministry has 46 embassies and two ambassadors on the social network. The Canadian foreign ministry only lists three accounts — its ambassadors in Austria and the Netherlands, and its consulate general in New York.
The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office has a list of 20 ambassadors on Twitter, including Jon Benjamin (@JonBenjamin19), the U.K.’s ambassador to Chile, who converses in Spanish with his 9,000 followers, and Tom Fletcher (@HMATomFletcher), the British ambassador to Lebanon, who is a self-proclaimed “Twiplomat,” and frequently engages in public Twitter exchanges with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati ( @Najib_Mikati).
Tom Fletcher is probably the staunchest advocate of Twiplomacy. In a speech in 2011, he described the transformation of his profession:
[T]he most effective diplomats will carry iPads rather than letters of credence; a digital demarche will be more powerful than a diplomatic one; and the setpiece international conference of the 20th century will be replaced by more fluid, open interaction with the people whose interests we are there to represent.
Tom Fletcher also warned that Twitter “is just one tool among many. The rest of the day job still matters. Don’t get too sucked in.” Others argue that diplomatic nuances cannot possibly be contained in 140 characters. That may be true, but nothing prevents one from sending multiple tweets in short succession to get a lengthy argument across (at the risk of losing the big picture) like the president of Mali did when he tweeted a letter of congratulations to newly elected French President François Hollande in nine successive tweets.
Twitter has already replaced traditional diplomatic exchanges. Instead of sending a “note verbale” to the foreign ministry in Moscow, U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul took to Twitter to express his dismay at the closure of USAID activities in Russia: “We regret this decision. MT @MFA_Russia has notified the U.S. that USAID must stop operating in Russia from October 1,” he tweeted. Ambassador McFaul’s Twitter activity has irked the Kremlin, and has shown that a digitally connected diplomat no longer depends on local media channels to connect directly with the citizens of the host country. For Ambassador McFaul, who organizes regular QA sessions, Twitter provides a direct conduit to change the hearts and minds of the Russian people.
For those not yet convinced about the power of social networks, consider this: If Facebook were a country, it would be the third-largest, behind China and India. Twitter would rank fourth, with more than half a billion registered users. Their executives are courted like royalty: Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey are the unelected leaders of supra-national states, wielding more power than many world leaders. It is hardly surprising that world leaders now include trips to the tech giants in Silicon Valley to their official visits to the United States. Then-Russian-president Dmitry Medvedev sent his first tweet from Twitter headquarters on June 23, 2010. Turkish President Abdullah Gül had his tour of the new Twitter offices in San Francisco in May 2012.
In conclusion, whether we like the expression or not, “Twiplomacy” is here to stay. Twitter and Facebook have already had a massive impact on the way our leaders interact with each other, and our diplomats connect with their host countries. Drafting a tweet, a Facebook post, or a blog post should be as much a part of the curriculum in diplomacy schools as writing government cables or “notes verbales.” I am not suggesting that social networks will replace face-to-face meetings between world leaders and government representatives altogether, but the digital connections leaders can now make will surely deepen and broaden existing relations with new audiences.
A version of this article appears as part of series on Twitter and diplomacy on OpenCanada.org.