Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Lowy gives USPD an A for E

You don't have to be a hipster to set trends -- but it helps. Source
So, as I'm sure you're already aware, Australia's Lowy Institute thinks the United States is a global e-diplomacy trendsetter.
"In some areas ediplomacy is changing the way State does business. In Public Diplomacy, State now operates what is effectively a global media empire, reaching a larger direct audience than the paid circulation of the ten largest US dailies and employing an army of
diplomat-journalists to feed its 600-plus platforms."
To recap: (USG * the Interwebs) > (non-USG * the Interwebs) -- where non-USG is any government of your choice, with the exception of the U.S. government, and where 'greater than' is recognized as a mathematical symbol and not a value judgment. So the U.S. is getting online to shape hearts and minds. So far, so good.

Except that as we all know, numbers aren't everything in the public diplomacy game, and reach isn't always the same thing as influence. And let's not forget that if we quantify the reach of that extensive media empire mentioned above and take it a step further than author Fergus Hanson did, we'll find that audience to be a little less than a fifth of what Xinhua estimates its own circulation to be. 

Still, it's a good indicator, and one I think most governments would rather be on the positive side of. And I think we can all agree that most of the State Department's online outreach is considerably less creepy than this video announcing the Lowy paper (courtesy of LowyInterpreter.org):

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