Taking a look at Real-Time Diplomacy
How can policymakers shift away from being mere spectators and address the political realities of a social-media-oriented society?
Philip Seib, director of the USC Center on Public Diplomacy, considers this question in the context of the events in the Arab world that began in 2011 in his new book, Real-Time Diplomacy: Politics and Power in the Social Media Era (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).
“The 2011 uprisings in the Middle East proved that democracy retains its appeal, even to people who have long lived without it,” Seib said. “They also illustrated how, in a high-speed, media-centric world, conventional diplomacy has become an anachronism. Not only do events move quickly, but so too does public reaction to those events. The cushion of time that enabled policymakers to judiciously gather information and weigh alternatives is gone.”
Offering insights into one of the most important challenges of the 21st century, Real-Time Diplomacy analyzes the essential, but often unhappy, marriage between diplomacy and new media, evaluating media’s reach and influence, and determining how policymakers might take advantage of media’s real-time capabilities rather than being driven by them.
In the book, Seib asks a vital question: How can any policymaker keep afloat in the flood of information coming from a vast number of sources?
As the events of 2011 illustrate, power can emanate from the public, and so developing and maintaining ties with publics around the world is an essential element of foreign policy.
Seib, professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, is the author and editor of many books, including Headline Diplomacy: How News Coverage Affects Foreign Policy, The Global Journalist: News and Conscience in a World of Conflict and Al Jazeera English: Global News in a Changing World.
For more information about Real-Time Diplomacy: Politics and Power in the Social Media Era or to schedule an interview, contact Tabby Davoodi at (213) 821-2078 or email@example.com or Abigail Naqvi at firstname.lastname@example.org.