Two weeks ago, the Gallup Poll published U.S. Faces Challenges With Communications Users Abroad . The article talked about how the US’ communication infrastructure can influence its image abroad. The article noted how
In some regions, the more likely respondents were to report they had household access to telecommunication technologies such as the Internet, telephone, and television, the more likely they were to disapprove of American leadership. Gallup also compared other factors, such as income, education, and age, to American approval ratings, but the relationship was not as clear as with communications.
This brings me to what we were discussing in classes about blogs and whether or not they have an impact on the US public diplomacy. I would say this is only accurate to a certain degree because not everyone in the world has access to the Internet. According to the Gallup Poll, only 14% of the world has access to home Internet. Regionally, only 24% of the homes in the Middle East have Internet access. Even when they do have Internet access, they will also need to be literate. So as it was brought up in class, “who is the public in public diplomacy?” – For the case of blogs, I would say it would be for the group of people who are educated and able to read and they are part of a certain demographic group that can afford the Internet and time to read blogs.
The Gallup Poll noted that
Mitchell Polman, blog contributor with the USC Center on Public Diplomacy, argues that, considering the low Internet penetration worldwide, the U.S. government should not forget the importance and reach of "Public Diplomacy 1.o," or focusing on radio and the printed word.
Blogs can be used a tool for the US to gain some leverage- but other communications tools should also be used, depending on the audience and how they will have access to it.