In recent years, diplomats have increasingly employed humour online. This study sought to understand why diplomats use humour on Twitter and to investigate whether humour can serve as a public diplomacy resource. The study adopted the prism of “the digitalisation of public diplomacy”, which asserts that the norms and logics of the digital society have altered diplomats’ working routines. Employing advertising humour typologies, the study analysed humorous tweets published by the Russian Embassy to the United Kingdom. Results suggest that by adopting a humorous and abrasive tone, and resonating with populist narratives, the Embassy was able to craft a unique iBrand online. This iBrand also depicted Russia as a confident world leader whose diplomacy is blunt and understandable to “common” people. Humour also enabled the Embassy to summon the attention of social media users, set the media agenda and identify the values that underscore Russia’s image.
- public diplomacy
- Russian public diplomacy
- social media
- The digitalisation of public diplomacy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Global and Planetary Change
- Geography, Planning and Development