Thursday 19 Jul 2018 | 15:45 | SYDNEY
Thursday 19 Jul 2018 | 15:45 | SYDNEY

Facebook and e-diplomacy


Fergus Hanson


16 November 2010 10:01

While e-diplomacy is going to become increasingly fundamental to the conduct of foreign policy, so far, I haven't been that impressed with what social media platforms have to offer diplomats. I make an exception though for the US Embassy in Jakarta's Facebook.

I've been following the site for the last few months and the embassy runs a seriously impressive show. Even before Obama actually showed up in Jakarta it had a massive following, but over the last few weeks it has gone from around 150,000 fans to a cool 280,000 or so.

The site is lively, they have a full–time employee whose job is to add new content regularly in Bahasa Indonesia and the Embassy has succeeded in making the virtual experience of Facebook real, for example, by running highly popular Facebook competitions to attend actual Embassy events.

DFAT doesn't operate on Facebook in Indonesia, but if it were to do so the US model offers a few pointers: do it in the local language, give the individual populating it flexibility to be creative ... and if you can swing it, get your country to elect a rock star Prime Minister brought up locally.