Social media is part of everyday life and, especially in the pandemic, our lives have moved even more into the digital world. As a member-driven and inclusive platform seeking innovative diplomatic solutions we cannot leave the question on how to apply respective tools in the sphere of the GDL? But what should we look out for when posting on social media, who is our target audience, and how can we increase our reach?
Four of them share their impressions with us:
Social media has become an essential source of knowledge, and so everyone uses it. Students in Europe are studying online and creating groups on social media for learning and exchanging information, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced people to stay at home.
In my experience, social media has become a feature of most of our daily activities. For example, I connect with people, I became a member of the Global Diplomacy Lab, and I have also attended countless workshops and training courses. I recently joined the Clubhouse app, which consists of many audio rooms discussing vital ideas, and I really like it especially because it works with the weak internet connection in Yemen. This weak connection has prevented me and other Yemenis from using video conferences in recent times.
The workshop made me aware of many important points that should be taken into consideration. Before that, I was using social media without being aware of the important rules that I have to follow before posting my content on social media, such as respecting the copyright holders of images or ideas. I used to speak with the audience in a sympathetic way, but without including points that required solutions or suggestions for mitigating the problem that has been raised on social media.
One of the most important insights was focusing on the balance between the language of the discourse while presenting proposals and solutions that enrich others and become firmly fixed in the minds of the public, mobilising supporters with a strong conviction of the issue raised.
I joined Twitter in early 2018, using the platform to share my ideas and sometimes my achievements. But despite being relatively active on Twitter, my words were somehow not well received by my followers and broader audience.
Since I am new to the world of social media and Twitter in particular, I thought equipping myself with sufficient expertise and techniques from social media expert Maike Mocikat would help me to promote my content and get my messages across to the Twitter community. Social media has been an integral part of our personal and professional lives, so I took the opportunity to join. During the workshop, I learned about what makes good content, how to create it and, most importantly, how to promote it on social media in general and on Twitter in particular.
The most interesting and constructive parts were the assessments and feedback from Maike and other participants concerning the contents I had already shared on Twitter. I found this to be unbelievably helpful since the tweets I have posted after the workshop are reaching their audience and I feel that my words are actually being read.
All in all, my most important takeaway from the workshop is that content production/promotion is a matter of creativity and persistence. We should never give up in the world of social media.
Social media has become an integral part of daily life for the majority of the world’s population. I therefore consider it a great platform for observing the latest developments and people’s reactions to them, to exchange my opinions with people with whom I would not otherwise be in daily contact, and to share information and ideas that could be of public interest.
For someone like me who works in the development cooperation sector, social media is a helpful platform for keeping track of local and international political events as well as of diverse social issues. My additional role as manager of the Global Diplomacy Lab’s Twitter and LinkedIn profiles gave me the opportunity to look at this issue from another perspective. It can be challenging but also fun to produce and publish content on behalf of an organisation.
Personally, I have become more confident about producing more creative content and interacting with others for collaborative projects on social media. I have observed that I paid too much attention to accuracy and correctness when creating content in the past, so that the experimental part was always a bit neglected. But that is exactly what distinguishes social media from other tools. The content should be right and create added value for others, but its formulation remains relatively free, and there is always room for more creativity.
I really enjoyed learning about the different perspectives and experiences of our members. The impressions I have gained will certainly remain in my mind for a long time when creating content on social media – for the GDL and for private purposes.
Having an online presence is important for today’s professionals. However, there is a fine line between informing your audience about your work and bragging about yourself on social media. As I want to refrain from self-adulation, I have not been comfortable with sharing personal or professional information on my accounts. Maike helped me to re-think my approach and to find a voice that is compatible with my values. Now I am more comfortable sharing information about my work if I think it is of value for my audience.
About the authors:
Eshraq Hammad is a Yemeni diplomat with experiences in the fields of international relations and diplomacy and has strong interests in issues concerning women empowerment, human rights and gender equality.
Mahmoud Javadi is an Iranian diplomat and research fellow at the Institute for Political and International Studies (IPIS) and is also active in state-funded think-tanks across the country (Twitter: @MahmoudJavadi2).
Dulguun Batmunkh is a development cooperation professional with experiences in multi-stakeholder partnership and foreign policy projects with a focus on Mongolia and is supporting the effective participation of youth and women in politics (Twitter: @Dulgoons).
Elif Çavuşluis an EU affairs expert working for the European Union’s institutions and is actively involved in issues concerning human rights, anti-discrimination and Roma rights in Turkish civil society.
Published on July 15, 2021.
Image credit: Chesnot/Getty