From Embassy Ties to Twitter Links: Comparing Offline and Online Diplomatic Networks

Efe Sevin, Ilan Manor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article investigates how diplomatic networks move into a new digital media platform, namely Twitter, through the analytical lenses of networked diplomacy studies and mediatization. We employ the studies in the former field to argue for the need to study the entire network to evaluate diplomatic relations, rather than relying on bilateral relations alone. Mediatization is then introduced to argue that moving to a digital platform (i.e., digitization) is a process in which countries might end up enjoying different levels of technology adoption. We first use social network analysis to compare the sizes and structures of brick and mortar embassy networks and Twitter following–follower relationship networks among ministries and ministers of foreign affairs of 130 countries. We then present a theoretical explanation of digitization of diplomatic networks. Our findings suggest that the majority of countries still have a larger diplomatic presence offline compared to their Twitter network. However, the structures of offline and online networks are similar, showing that countries have diplomatic relations (whether brick and mortar embassies or Twitter links) with the same groups of countries. We conclude by presenting the variance of the digitization process among countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-343
Number of pages20
JournalPolicy and Internet
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • digital diplomacy
  • diplomacy
  • embassy relations
  • mediatization
  • networked diplomacy
  • social network analysis
  • Twitter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Administration
  • Health Policy
  • Computer Science Applications

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