International relations is constructed of ideas and concepts that have won legitimacy through the passage of time. Diplomacy is an ancient practices that has evolved and has become a practice that states have accepted as legitimate. The arrival of the digital world and the new Information Communications Technologies (ICTs) in the diplomatic world has made it possible to adopt trends like engaging in social media applications like Twitter to practice diplomacy. This creates the need to better understand the use of social media platforms as a tool of diplomacy. The growing engagement of Heads of States and Governments in communicating messages on Twitter, the so-called Twidiplomacy, is changing from what was considered a mere “trend” to a “common practice” in the conduct of diplomatic practice. As authorities share their culture through their behaviour and it is further shared and emulated through the use of Twitter by other authorities, these actions create new collective identities and shared knowledge in the diplomatic practice. These trends may lead to new patterns of diplomatic behaviour that may transform the diplomatic practice. Abdullakkutty (2018:11) contends that as an extension of innovative digital diplomacy “the use of social media is so extended that it can easily realise the diplomatic functions of negotiation, representation and communication”. Using a case study of tweets by a few Heads of States and Governments tweeting on similar major diplomatic incidents, this study researches these trends in innovative diplomacy leading to Twidiplomacy and how these are affecting the traditional roles of diplomacy, namely: negotiation, representation and communication.
Mini Dissertation (MDips)--University of Pretoria, 2020.