Dr Damien Spry
This presentation introduces research into use of Facebook as a public diplomacy tool in Asia, by Asian and non-Asian countries. It uses two years (Jan 2016 - Dec 2017) of data (engagement metrics and content) from India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Myanmar, Timor Leste, as well as several non-Asian countries for comparison. The data, extracted using Netvizz - a free, accessible, easy-to-use online tool - amounts to approximately 150,000 Facebook posts from about 180 Facebook pages.
It asks questions about underlying assumptions about the role of digital media, especially social media, in international relations and specifically in "digital diplomacy'. It looks at impacts of technology (namely platform characteristics, especially algorithmic structuration), cultural specificities, and professional norms in the conduct and experience of public diplomacy through social media. And it suggests some conceptual frameworks for theorising digital diplomacy and agendas for ongoing research.
The results also suggest that the use of Facebook for diplomatic purposes is often counter-productive or at least ineffective, except under certain circumstances and for specific purposes.
Dr Damien Spry is based on the Gold Coast (Queensland) and Hong Kong, where he teaches at Hong Kong University's International College. He is also an Honorary Associate at the University of Sydney, from where he received his PhD. He previously spent four years in Seoul, South Korea, as an Associate Professor at Hanyang University and a radio presenter at TBS-eFM. He has published widely on public diplomacy, soft power and Asia for think tanks (ASPI, the Lowy Institute), mainstream press and academically, including the East and South-East Asia overview in the recent Routledge Handbook on Soft Power (2017). His research interests and methods intersect media studies (especially digital and social media) and international relations. He previously worked in media and publishing in the NGO and corporate sectors. Details of his research, including some of the files the presentation is based on, can be found at www.diplomatics.com.au.
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