Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Tweet Heard Round the World

Believe it or not, several prominent world leaders are using Twitter to reach audiences. Mashable wrote about how the White House should use Twitter by highlighting effective world leaders on Twitter. Here are a few notables:

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, for example, has a staff member tweeting about his meetings, events, etc. Here’s the latest tweet from @KevinRuddPM:

British PM Gordon Brown, Romanian PM Calin Popescu Tariceaunu, Canadian PM Stephen Harper and former Israeli PM Netanyahu also all have official Twitter feeds. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon also has a team that tweets updates on what he’s doing and who he’s meeting with. Though their aides usually write the tweets, the use of Twitter is an interesting new trend in public diplomacy.

In Dec., PD blogger Matt Armstrong discussed Colleen Graffy’s tweeting. Graffy is unusual among leaders on Twitter because of the personal tone of her tweets. Critics say this gets in the way of PD. Armstrong counters criticisms of her tone, writing:
While Colleen’s “tweets” are at times hyper-personal, they are inline with the personalization required to engage in the modern environment.
Graffy herself explained why she’s on Twitter in the Post article Jameson mentioned. She wrote:
Simply put, Twitter is just one more tool through which we can connect, and by linking my messages to video and photos, I can inform whole new audiences about U.S. views and ideas in a format with which they feel comfortable.
Twitter provides a challenge with just 140 characters to communicate messages but an opportunity in PD because it allows for personalization and real time diplomacy with global audiences.

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