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Jakarta Post

Savvy social media diplomacy a standard in digital era

  • Liza Yosephine
    Liza Yosephine

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, April 1, 2016   /  02:05 pm
Savvy social media diplomacy a standard in digital era Indonesian diplomats are being encouraged to keep up with the rapid development of technology and communication tools by exploring the use of new media. (Associated Press/Richard Drew)

Indonesian diplomats are being encouraged to keep up with the rapid development of technology and communication tools by exploring the use of new media in the Foreign Ministry's leadership programs. 

Participants in the leadership program are now required to be active on social media throughout the whole of the training period, including broadcasting updates of activities via Twitter and Tumblr, said the director of the ministry's Senior Diplomatic School (Sesparlu), Odo Manuhutu.

Speaking during a seminar on digital diplomacy held in collaboration between the ministry and the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Odo emphasized the importance of familiarizing students with new media as a stepping stone to spur innovative ideas at work.

The public seminar on Thursday invited senior foreign ambassadors, namely German and Spanish ambassadors to Indonesia Georg Witschel and Francisco José Viqueira Niel, respectively.

Witschel said the life-changing progress of technology demanded an adaptive attitude to innovations in politics, diplomacy and global communication, notwithstanding  the importance of using social media tools. 

"Public participation has become a permanent feature of diplomatic negotiations," said Witschel, adding that interactive opportunities between citizens and governmental representatives had increased engagement among the public, who are becoming active designers and communicators of digital diplomacy.

Noting the importance of the role of media, the ambassador revealed that the German government regularly used professional consultants to maximize the production of meaningful content.

Meanwhile, Spanish Ambassador Viqueira underlined the age old importance of thinking before speaking, to which Witschel added "think before you tweet".

Inaugurated at the end of 2014, Odo has revamped the four-month long diplomatic leadership program by upholding values of public accountability.

In addition to the traditionally demanded skills of diplomacy, the future leaders of the ministry, who will eventually go on to become ambassadors, also learn coding, application making, video production and social media management, and have an appointed tweeter of the day. (ags)

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