Crafting strategic MFA communication policies during times of political crisis: A note to MFA policy makers

Jennifer A. Cassidy, Ilan Manor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


From the power of the hashtag to frame political discourse online, to the use of online messenger services such as Whatsapp to conduct press briefings, the technological revolution has had a substantial impact on the practice of crisis communication. From their extensive reach capabilities to the instant power of connection, popular online platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are demonstrating to their users and observers alike that the age of the digital – in particular the age of social media – has altered how we now practice and perceive the role (and power) of communication during times of political crisis. However not all has been smooth sailing, with such shifts in communication strategies creating an increasing amount of hyperbolic discourse or “myths” concerning what diplomatic actors are actually doing online. These myths have been informed by the possible or expected power of online technologies and not by what is actually happening in practice. Therefore if communication strategies are to become truly effective in the digital age, such hyperbolic discourse surrounding the technological revolution needs to be dissected and discussed. We need to separate hype from genuine transformations within the digital crisis communication arena, and move the discussion from that of an online presence focus, to one which is centred around strategic output and effectiveness. Thus situated within these changing technological shifts, this article seeks to explore a number of myths surrounding diplomatic crisis communication practice and provide a number of strategic methods on how ministries of foreign affairs (MFAs) may best move past these myths in order to create a crisis communication strategy which is effective, and measurable. At its core, this article provides MFA policy makers and practitioners with a road map for strategic crisis communication success.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-343
Number of pages13
JournalGlobal Affairs
Issue number3
StatePublished - 3 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes


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