In recent years, the Twitter feeds of U.S. Embassies have sparked controversies, angering American political leaders as well as local leaders and citizens. This study explores how U.S. Embassies use Twitter, to try to assess whether Twitter use might be seen as furthering the mission of the U.S. Department of State or as a “barometer” of local tensions. By examining the tweet output from four embassies on the State Department official “watch list” and four not on the list, this study reveals inconsistencies among embassies in Twitter use and between Twitter content and the State Department mission, and suggests the possibility of viewing such Twitter activity as public diplomacy.
Content analysis; Twitter; U.S. Department of State; Public diplomacy; Public relations
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