Digital diplomacy: league table of ministries of foreign affairs
The League of Soft Power 30 was published last summer by Portland Communications in which the UK ranked top of the list. Last week Diplomacy.Live published Digital Diplomacy Ranking 2016 which ranked Ministries of Foreign Affairs from 210 countries based on their digital diplomacy performance.
The ranking used both qualitative and quantitative data produced by MFAs. The researchers analysed publicly open digital diplomacy assets such as websites, mobile apps and social networks and how they are used in diplomatic endeavours.
In addition to presence, the research used other indicators to asses the MFA's digital diplomacy performance, including; customisation, up-to-dateness, strategy, influence, engagement, analytics, security, content, audience, transparency and innovation.
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The review stated that " Of those 210 MFAs listed, 166 Ministries/Departments had at least one Twitter account and 120 Ministries had at least one Facebook account each. 77 Foreign Ministers had an active Twitter account." It can be noticed that Twitter is still the leading interface for MFAs to communicate with their global audience followed by facebook.
In the Digital Diplomacy Ranking 2016, the UK came first and France second, the US third and Russia fourth. India, Mexico and Israel made the top 10 to confirm their status as emerging digital powers.
Saudi Arabia came 29th and topped the Arab countries. South Africa came 51st and topped the African countries
As these rankings for Digital diplomacy are very rare, there is no similar research for benchmarking. One of the main surprises was the ranking of Ukraine, a country struggling in all fronts, which came 11th beating countries such as Germany and Canada.
Another surprise is the ranking of China that came 125 behind countries such as Iraq, Iran and Somalia. This confirms Chinese authorities struggle with social media. In addition, China has a unique social media market that might have not responded to the criteria set by the researchers which are set for the global market.
Finally, looking at the social media presence of Diplomacy Live that published the ranking, one can notice that their social media presence is weak as they onlyhave 154 followers in Twitter, their page has 9 likes in Facebook and their LinkedIn page has 10 followers.