Could effective usage of social media increase soft power of the small states? Estonia`s example
MetadataShow full item record
This thesis seeks to draw attention to the changing nature of power and diplomacy in the age of increasingly networked and digitalised society of 21st century. Having a large army of soldiers and tanks could help to win a battle, but in order to be the winner in a war there must be other capabilities as well. Moreover, some smaller states do not have an opportunity to spend enormous resources on military – they have to find other ways to achieve their foreign policy goals. Today the battlefield is located inside people`s heads – the ability to attract and influence is crucial for achieving desired outcomes. After giving an overview about different facets of power the discussion continues with the examination of how the soft form of power could be made to work in reality. The author argues that the most fundamental aspect of this is proper communication with the focus on digital diplomacy – using digital tools (like social media) for engaging with foreign audiences and making public diplomacy. The main conclusion from theoretical part is that states which are ready to face these new challenges are most probably more successful in reaching their foreign policy objectives in the near and long future. In other words, digital diplomacy and effective communication are crucial steps for small states in turning soft power resources into actual influence. Empirical part of the thesis concentrates on a small state that could be considered a digital success story, namely Estonia. Analysing the usage of social media by Estonian foreign policy actors, the thesis seeks to point out how active and successful these actors have been in using social media for digital diplomacy and for engaging with foreign audiences. The results suggest that while there are some positive examples among these actors, there are also many shortcomings – some actors still seem not to understand the growing importance of digital diplomacy nor they do not make the most use of the opportunities social media offers. The thesis concludes with the Estonian case studies on digital diplomacy and with the discussion on potential benefits that using social media could bring with – like countering Russian propaganda and ensuring the coherence in Estonian society.