Diplomacy in Cyberspace


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The Future of Public Diplomacy (Wilton Park, March 2007)

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Diplomacy in Cyberspace

  1. 1. Diplomacy in Cyberspace Aleks Krotoski University of Surrey The Guardian
  2. 2. So people are playing games. So what? • People are gathering in these spaces • People are communicating with one another • People are developing meaningful relationships • People are creating new understandings • People are participating
  3. 3. But before we get ahead of ourselves… • The differences between online and offline: – Anonymity – Physical appearance – Physical proximity – Greater transience (more weak ties) – Absence of social cues
  4. 4. So how can the interactions in cyberspace be meaningful ? • In traditional definitions of “community”, there’d be no such thing in cyberspace – How can you develop meaningful relationships with people you’ve never met?
  5. 5. It’s been happening for years • These virtual worlds are the places which the online communities are tied to
  6. 6. So how does it happen? • Virtual worlds are designed that way – people must rely upon one another to survive and advance • Anonymity becomes Pseudonymity • Whatever role trust plays in offline communities, it plays in online communities because these interactions are human-bound
  7. 7. This is where things get interesting • Incorporating real-world ritual into the virtual • Commemorating real-world events • A non-official policing force in a space where an official police are absent • Representational government for the people by the people • Judicial systems • Thriving economies worth tens of millions of USD
  8. 8. So what does this mean for public diplomacy? • These spaces integrate the functionality of the internet, the creativity enabled by digital media and the collaborative possibilities offered in the networked age • They are integrated and immersive media platforms which encourage active participation, collaboration and innovation • They extend traditional information access, and support new ways of creating exchanges and experiences for a global population
  9. 9. Some people have chosen to study them
  10. 10. Others have chosen to use them • Charities • Political Parties – Global Kids – John Edwards 08 – UNICEF – National Front – American Cancer Society – UKIP – Childline • N/GOs • Governments – Centre for Disease – Sweden Control – The Netherlands – NOAA – World Economic Forum
  11. 11. So how do you do it? • It’s very easy. It just takes a bit of planning. The most important thing to remember is that it all comes back to the community – What are their social norms? – What can you provide which offers value? – What can you provide which offers the community a stake in how and where you’ll fit into the social landscape?
  12. 12. In sum • Virtual environments are thriving worlds populated by tens of millions around the world • They simulate and stimulate • People are motivated to participate • And if you want to get involved, you must too
  13. 13. Thank you Aleks Krotoski aleks@toastkid.com http://www.toastkid.com