I quattro pilastri della diplomazia digitale

Un collega qualche tempo fa mi chiesto quali siano a mio avviso gli elementi chiave della cosiddetta “digital-diplomacy” o “e-diplomacy”.  Poichè questi termini stanno diventando in voga anche nel bel paese e a mio avviso c’è un po’ di confusione a riguardo, ripropongo qui quello che gli avevo risposto:

THE FOUR PILLARS OF DIGITAL DIPLOMACY

VISION

Digital Diplomacy is about a vision it is not (just) about tools. It is the way of conceiving the “statecraft” that should be changed, it is not about opening a Twitter account.

Developing innovative tools is a crucial part of digital diplomacy, but tools are useless without a vision. Without a new vision digital diplomacy is just like the old diplomacy with a new tie (same old diplomatic jargon and approach tweeted are useless).

– INCLUSIVENESS

Digital Diplomacy is inclusive and not exclusive. Both in defining a vision and in developing tools, diplomats should be in a constant dialogue with no-profit actors, Ngos, entrepreneurs and scholars. Skills, languages and procedures other then the usual diplomatic approach might help in finding unexpected solutions to new (for diplomats but maybe not for other folks) problems. Digital diplomacy benefits a lot from networking with non-diplomats (both at national and international levels).

– CONTROL (LACK OF)

Digital diplomacy has necessarily to be less risk-averse than traditional diplomacy. To make the networks developing at their best, part of the control on the whole diplomatic process should be given. Diplomats should learn to lead the diplomatic process without the full control. Reducing control doesn’t mean get rid of policies and procedures, on the contrary in a collaborative and more open environment everybody needs to know exactly his/her tasks to avoid mistakes. A leadership without control is mainly a bridge leadership where the key task is to facilitate connections between stakeholders, within networked structures.

– COMMUNITY

Part of attention should be shifted from the definition of the message to the development of communities. You can not understand digital diplomacy without understanding the net, which is also about a culture (and I personally like to define it as “remix culture” borrowing from Larry Lessig): it is about re-thinking the way relationship are developed and projects are conceived and implemented online; it is understanding that, when a community is involved you can’t really predict the final result of a process, but still you can extremely benefit, even in term of your international reputation and interests, from being part of the community.

Being part of the community for an institution doesn’t mean pretend to be a peer among peers, on the contrary stressing differences (in term of goals, structures and resources) and explaining how cooperation might be of mutual interest is required.

To cope with this we need to re-think Diplomats as community managers and to re-think diplomatic effort not just as process of pushing internationally a message, but ad a process of developing, sustaining and promoting platforms and communities (online and offline).

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