Social media and Government are not the best of friends. Yet Governments have no choice but to shake hands with social media. Events like the Arab Spring, IAC movement have proved that social media can’t be ignored. And Twitter has made things worse with news spreading within seconds unlike the traditional modes for news. Twitter has also given a platform to the politicians, officials, etc. to be the influencers despite the numerous embarrassing issues when ministers had failed to understand the medium. To make things more exciting, Agency France-Presse (AFP) has launched a new e-diplomacy tool that curates and maps tweets from heads of state to government officials, activists, etc. as reported by The Verge.
The tool, which is an e-diplomacy hub, requires a Twitter authentication. The tool has features like Map, Countries, People, Hot Spots, Links and Conflicts. Let’s look into each of them:
Map: It allows you to select a country and witness how the country is connected to the countries with which it has diplomatic relations. I selected India to find out how it is connected to other countries; the visual map is shared below. Besides this, you are provided with insights about the country such as twitter users in the country, top hash tag, top e-diplomat, etc. and if you click on a particular country the tool shows you tweets from influential people.
Countries: This is a real-time ranking of the different countries (updates in every 24 hours) based on the composite index of officials and experts. In addition to the ranking where United States is leading by miles and India is placed at the tenth position, you are also provided with Timeline Ranking. You can select up to 4 countries and compare their performance as shown in the below screen grab.
People: It is also a real-time ranking of influential diplomats from different countries on Twitter. Barack Obama leads the race followed by Bill Gates. Shashi Tharoor placed at 17 is the torchbearer for India. For more, check out the screen grab provided below. Interestingly, AFP ranks Dalai Lama as an influential diplomat from China, not sure if Tibetans would love to see this but his Twitter account marks his location as India.
Hot Spots: It allows you to track conversations going on in countries around a particular hashtag. The tool provides a list of hashtags but you can pick your own and track conversations in only three countries. The tool also provides you an option to translate tweets that are in foreign language.
Links & Conflicts: Links provides a list of people who are following influential people. For example, since I chose the country India, the tool showed a list of people from its database that are following the Twitter account of PMOIndia.
Conflicts is an interesting section where the tool is showing Twitter feeds of long running conflicts between state and illegal armed organizations present on Twitter. The tool shows a list of conflicts such as SHEBAB Vs African Union, Taliban Vs ISAF, etc. If you click on them, you would be taken to individual pages, which has Twitter feeds. The tool also provides Twitter feeds from the group Anonymous.
How effective is the AFP tool
In today’s world when most of the conversation happen on Twitter, it is a great tool from AFP. The e-diplomacy tool is easy to use and a visual delight too. Embedding a translate button is useful to understand what is the world talking about. Going further this could be a great tool for Government PR offices and also for the media to track conversations and news. Presently the tool is free and I am sure this won’t be for long, as the AFP CEO, Emmanuel Hoog plans to make it premium with time.
I have found this tool interesting and informative but will this make diplomats more cautious on what they are saying in 140 characters. Give a spin to the AFP tool and let us know how informative did you find it.