America’s selfie: how the US portrays itself on its social media accounts
In recent years, nations throughout the world have incorporated the use of social networking sites (SNS), such as Twitter and Facebook, in their diplomatic efforts. Digital diplomacy is seen by researchers as an important tool in furthering a nation’s foreign policy as it enables direct interaction and engagement with foreign publics (Metzgar 2012; Cowan and Arsenault 2008; Hayden 2012). Yet digital diplomacy may also prove a useful tool in nation-branding activities. While the existing scholarly work on nation branding is extensive, few studies to date have evaluated the manner in which nations use digital diplomacy to proactively manage their image. This could be a result of the fact that until recently, nationbranding activities focused primarily on traditional media, such as advertising campaigns in television, radio and print. Moreover, as the practice of digital diplomacy is still evolving, the use of SNS in order to manage the national image and reputation is a novel practice. Investigating the manner in which foreign ministries employ social media in their nation-branding activities is warranted as it may represent a shift in the conceptualization, practice and assessment of nation branding.