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The e-diplomacy Hub, developed by Agence France Presse (AFP), visualizes, analyzes and measures the presence and influence of diplomatic actors on Twitter, across the globe and in real-time. Our algorithms yield constantly updated rankings for both states and individuals, and an innovative interface that makes it possible to watch diplomacy in action. Users can customize the application to highlight the e-diplomatic activities of their home country. Driving the app is a database stocked with thousands of accounts, ranging from heads of state, ministers and diplomats to experts, activists and politically-motivated hackers.
What is e-diplomacy?
Since the invention of the Morse telegraph, arguably no technological innovation has changed the practice of foreign policy as much as social media, which make it possible to reach a hyper-local audience on a global scale. Their presence and power to shape events emerged clearly during the first phase of the Arab Spring, and will continue to evolve as a tool for strategic diplomacy in the years to come. As of March 2012, the US State Department had 150 full-timer personnel working full-time in e-diplomacy, and many other states are not far behind. Twitter in particular has rapidly become a critical vector through which states and civil society seek to further foreign policy goals or influence public opinion.
Twitter is an online micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters, known as "tweets". Created in March 2006, it had over 400 million accounts worldwide as of early 2012, including 140 million active users. The service generates more than a billion tweets per week. The United States accounts for about a quarter of all accounts. The company is based in San Francisco.