Twitter and Facebook useful diplomatic tools in 21st century

Washington: The Obama Administration, which is making maximum use of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter in governance, feels these are "effective tools" that can enhance diplomacy.

Top officials of the Obama Administration are seen twitting round the clock and various wings of the US government have now dedicated team for sites like Twitter, Facebook and Flicker.

"We think that 21st century diplomacy involves a combination of capabilities - one, having the Secretary go around the world and talk face-to-face to leaders, but also have the ability to communicate with populations around the world through a variety of means, including social media," State Department spokesman P J Crowley said.

He said the US believed that the use of Facebook and Twitter in governance would be worth emulating by other countries.

Crowley, who tweets very frequently, says he has some 2,000 followers.

"We recognised from the outset that these are effective tools that enhance diplomacy. The Secretary (of State Hillary Clinton) has spoken about this. Under Secretary Judith McHale is leading this effort.

"We not only have the ability through social networking to communicate with governments, most importantly, we have the ability to communicate with people," he said.

"...that is a powerful tool, and around the world we`re using it to clarify the position of the United States, but we`re also using it to help solve challenges that - in the places that the Secretary has visited," Crowley noted.

"Absolutely, we are using these tools quite effectively. People are able to follow the Secretary and her travels at," he said.

Noting that half of the population in Indonesia is on Facebook, Crowley said that becomes an important tool in terms of the emergence of democratic societies and accountable governments so that people can use social media to communicate to a government.

"We are working in Mexico, for example, where people can use cell phones and texting to communicate to the government where they have concerns about corruption. So we obviously see that technology allows the opportunity to - it both empowers people, it hold - makes governments more accountable. We think this is an important dynamic for global society in the 21st century," Crowley said.



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