Listen: The future of diplomacy in the Twitter era
"You're listening to the foreign desk with me. Andrew Miller on today's show I'm joined by Carolina Age and Richard Seymour Caroliina is independent diplomat cyber security and technology lead. She joins us from Milton Keynes. Richard Seymour is a journalist and author of the twittering machine. He joins joins us here in the studio. Welcome both Richard. I'll start with you and we'll start with. I think first principles we are where we are twitter and social media but twitter twitter in particular new things but the clearly not going anywhere in a hurry or something like the muse going to be something that diplomats will have to deal with breath. Is there any way at all now. You can not be on twitter if you are engaged in diplomacy. Could you just decide to rise above it now. I don't think anybody nobody in power can turned on the communicate of advantages of it but we should be clear that there's different ways of interpreting diplomacy you know if you're talking about making peace if you're talking about striking negotiations all all the rest of it twitter's nor very good platform for doing that. It's much better for showboating and sabre-rattling and grandstanding ending the kind of trump approach. If you like so I would say that really. It's not so much that you can avoid it but if you're really interested in diplomacy it might be a bit of a curse us because what's happening here is that we've got this a very elaborate system of global writing in which the rules have fundamentally changed a no one really fully understands how it's possible that war is being fundamentally rewritten but that is changing the rules and it makes it a nightmare. If you want to do what we would traditionally understand US diplomacy which would involve concessions climbed arms thinks that might be difficult for politicians things that would be difficult to maintain in in a sort of an environmental you know Phibro attention economy you know where everybody's struggling for likes and attention and so on and where a lot of the culture is driven by outrageous sentiment Caroliina are there any ways in which twitter has enabled diplomacy that it's actually made diplomacy easier or better or opened up constructive new ways in which it can be done. I think it has when we think about diplomacy in modern times really really realized in three pillars the first of these international law a complex subset of sort of the legal systems across the world and tweeter always it has very little impact on that but then manure start getting towards the second pillar of political strategy of negotiations of states wanting to achieve certain something in the the international system twitter might rate start playing some sort of a role but the third pillar which is public diplomacy of trying to get your message across I to audiences abroad. I think this is for twitter sort of potential of of just disseminating information in a way we can obviously debate whether it's not always positive information that gets resprayed around but it does have the power of getting messages across and then when we're looking at this third pillar of public diplomacy the twitter can have quite positive impact on on sort of statecraft. Richard does toy into your point. I think about how twitter is a useful tool for showboating. Thank sabre-rattling and grandstanding in fact. That's pretty much all anybody ever does with twitter but to what extent are those useful tools though to any ambassador the all or indeed state. Oh sure I mean there are absolutely vital tools their tools of war so I think it's very clear that if you look at the troll armies that it almost every major nation state has some form of troll army in other words they have paid individuals they have sock puppet spots and all the rest of it who exists to disseminate information that is likely to be destabilizing embarrassing problematic. Maybe fake it may be untrue but is going to cause problems for political industrial and other forms of opponent and even beyond states you think about a formation like the Islamic state which used the Internet to recruit the Grand Army for mobile theocracy never happened before and how did it do it. It did it by creating sewn own version of an online Omar a sort of almost like a national community from which it could draw resources recruits and using Hashtag jacking meaning and all the rest of it so obviously the standards are proving very useful but what's proven to be useful in terms of diplomacy as cyber war is often enough the the anticipated emerging properties of the system like nobody programmed the system for trolling for example that just happened to emerge out of it. Nobody programmed Graham D- Youtube to be good at so called Red pilling that just happens to be a feature of the system so actually I think a big part of our struggle now this to understand not what are the formal protocols and properties of twitter facebook all the rest of it but what are the emergent properties. What are the unintended consequences. What is if you like the unconscious of the"