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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Twiplomacy: The Soft Power Role of U.S. Embassies in the Digital Age
by Wynne, Maximiliana, M.A., The American University of Paris (France), 2020, 134; 28317114
Abstract (Summary)

While many studies have focused on the role and impact of American pop culture as a strategic soft power resource for the United States, the institutional role of U.S. embassies is often neglected. Yet embassies have become an increasingly active component of American public diplomacy, especially in the digital era. In recent years, online networks such as Twitter have become indispensable tools employed by U.S. embassies to advance their mission of promoting American interests internationally and communicating with foreign nationals and local citizens. This paper examines how the U.S. Embassy in France uses Twitter as a public diplomacy soft power tool. Empirically, the comparative analysis is threefold. First, the paper compares and contrasts traditional, non-digital initiatives deployed by the U.S. Embassy in France with the embassy’s current digital initiatives. Second, the paper conducts a cross-sectional comparison of the U.S. Embassy’s Twitter account with Twitter efforts at the U.S. Embassy in Russia, Germany, and Afghanistan. And third, the paper compares the Twitter efforts by the U.S. Embassy in France with Twitter accounts managed by the Russian, German, and Afghan embassies in Washington, D.C. These comparisons help assess the efficacy of Twiplomacy as a soft power tool and whether it complements traditional public diplomacy or is used strategically with its own goals. At a time when digital tools have become indispensable for election campaigns in politics and brand marketing in the private sector, in state diplomacy, the use of these tools remains relatively underdeveloped. It is argued that embassy-led Twiplomacy tends to either complement traditional public diplomacy efforts or amplify foreign policy objectives. This can possibly be explained by the lack of measurable goals and outcomes in public diplomacy, in contrast to more precise measures in election and brand marketing campaigns where votes and sales demonstrate effectiveness.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Fraser, Matthew
Commitee: Feldman, Jessica, Westley, Hannah
School: The American University of Paris (France)
Department: Global Communications
School Location: France
Source: MAI 82/8(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Political science, Multimedia Communications, International Relations
Keywords: Covert cultural diplomacy, Digital diplomacy, Hard power, Propaganda, Soft power, Twitter, Embassies, Foreign policy
Publication Number: 28317114
ISBN: 9798569984336
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