Ministry of Defence

NATO, ‘Soft Power' and Social Media

b_230_192_16777215_00___images_aktualitet_soc_med.jpgFor those wanting to use soft power in foreign policy, social media offer intriguing ways to deliver messages to publics that may have been inaccessible in the past. International organizations such as NATO continue to assess ways that they can enhance their missions by relying at least in part on soft power – convincing rather than coercing.

The essence of soft power is communication – listening to target audiences and responding honestly, and then continuing the conversation. The two-way nature of this process distinguishes it from old-style methods, such as relying on radio and television broadcasting, which are one-way mechanisms for reaching broadly defined populations. A degree of political intimacy can be attained by social media that bring their users into a cyber-community.

Diplomacy that relies on social media has its rewards but involves considerable effort. Maintaining interactive venues requires funding and personnel. As publics around the world become increasingly empowered by the access they have to newer forms of media and broader information flows, they will expect this connectivity as a matter of course.

NATO has proved itself fully capable of delivering information via the Internet, and deputy assistant secretary general Stefanie Babst has cited the need for NATO to be able to “mobilize networks and public support to bring about concrete change.” This requires monitoring the world of social media to use the venues that have the most appropriate audiences – those that NATO needs to reach and listen to. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are just starting points; new variations on these messaging tools spring up constantly.

It is important to remember that using social media is not a game or passing fad. As the Arab Awakening that began last year has illustrated, these are political tools that can vastly enhance the mobilization capabilities of forces seeking societal change. For its public diplomacy efforts and its more conventional military tasks, NATO should continue to explore new social media options. These media make the exercise of both soft and hard power more effective, and are essential in making real the smart power on which NATO should rely.

Philip Seib is a professor at the University of Southern California and director of USC’s Center on Public Diplomacy. His forthcoming book is Real-Time Diplomacy: Politics and Power in the Social Media Era.

By Philip Seib
University of Southern California

EVENTS & ANALYSIS

Defence Minister Kodheli official visit to Greece, 14-15 January 2014 14-15 January 2014Defence Minister Mrs. Mimi Kodheli held on January 14-15 a two-day official visit to Athens, with the invitation of the Minister of Defence of Greece...
Minister Kodheli at the Comprehensive Regional Ministerial held in Slovenia October 2013The Ministerial included two meetings: US-Adriatic Charter (A5) Ministerial, and SEDM Defence Ministerial...
"Strategic Vision" June 2013Latest magazine "Strategic Vision" issued by the National Centre of Security and Defence...
Strategic Defence Review document 11 April 2013 The Council of Ministers of the Republic of Albania approved the Strategic Defence Review document...
Defence Directive 2013 15 January 2013 This directive is the foundation where the plans, working programs and activities of all structures of the MoD of the AF will rely
on...
Defence Ministers make progress on cyber protection 04 June 2013NATO Defence Ministers agreed that the Alliance’s cyber-defence capability should be fully operational by the autumn...
The Albanian Experience in Demilitarization of Excess Ammunition 15 May 20132,300 tons were demilitarized until September 2009, at the end of the year 6,500 tons, while in 2010 were demilitarized 20,600 tons...
Albania-US Relations: A Pillar of Stability in an Increasingly Uncertain World 30 June 2012By Ian J. BrzezinskiWashington - It is in times of uncertainty that partnerships are both most tested and most important...
NATO Chicago summit meets its goals 21 may 2012“We came to Chicago with three goals. And we have met them...
NATO delivers at Chicago Summit 20 may 2012Rasmunssen: "Today, we approved a robust package of more than 20 multinational projects, to provide the capabilities we need, at a price we can afford"...
NATO declares interim missile defence capability 20 may 2012Rasmunssen:“Our system will link together missile defence assets from different Allies – satellites, ships, radars and interceptors – under NATO command and control...
NATO Defence Ministers endorse concept for new post-2014 mission in Afghanistan 05 June 2013NATO Defence Ministers on Wednesday endorsed the detailed concept for the new NATO-led mission...
NATO in 2020 13 april 2012 NATO's Secretary General, Mr. Anders Fogh Rasmussen sets out his vision...  
“Smart Defence - An innovative approach to security challenges” 27 April 2012“Smart Defence” is a new way of thinking about generating the defence capabilities we need for the year 2020 and beyond...
“Smart Defense” A Smart Approach for the Balkan Region 18 march 2012 Rasmussen: “I know that in an age of austerity, we cannot spend more. But neither should we spend less. So the answer is to spend better...”
NATO, ‘Soft Power' and Social Media 23 march 2012 For those wanting to use soft power in foreign policy, social media offer intriguing ways to deliver messages to publics that may have been inaccessible in the past...
NATO Air Headquarters Ramstein passes missile defence test 04-05 april 2012 The operational headquarters for NATO's future territorial ballistic missile defence capability passed a significant technical test on 4-5 April...
Join the Armed Forces 25 July 2013 Criteria and documentations to become a professional soldier...
Military Review December 2013 Latest issue of "Military Review" magazine, in English language...
Moving Forward To End Violence Against Women 08 July 2013 --by Lakshmi Puri, Acting Head of UN Women and Assistant Secretary-General...
Two approaches towards “operational capability” – Bring them as closer as possible June 2012Strategic Defence Review (SDR) in Albania has already reached the stage, when lining-up and linking...

    OTHER FROM MoD