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A Blog on Understanding, Informing, Empowering, and Influencing Global Publics, published by Matt Armstrong

The world of Wikileaks Part 2: A means of evaluating Public Diplomacy

By Ali Fisher

Wikileaks Part 2 looks at the impact of releasing information through the traditional media on the network of interactions using social media and reflects on the potential to use network analysis in evaluation. (See also The Small World of Wikileaks, Part 1.)

image From a Strategic Communications and Public Diplomacy perspective, evaluation has become increasingly important with forthcoming reports and even spending decisions, for example, in the UK. If an organisation is seeking to develop lasting relationships, seeking to subsequently identify those relationships would be a logical part of any evaluation or bid for further funding.

The example of Wikileaks has much in common with those engaged in Public Diplomacy and seeking to measure their attempts to disperse information on specific issues. In terms of Public Diplomacy, Wikileaks part 1 discussed creating a baseline of interactions and information sharing behaviours. Part 1 also highlighted that information about Wikileaks was trapped in a ‘Small World’ limiting the ability of Wikileaks to go mainstream.

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The Small World of Wikileaks, Part 1 – What might this have to do with Public Diplomacy?

By Ali Fisher

The now familiar story of the release of documents by Wikileaks and reported by the New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel has been analysed from numerous angles considering potential impact on reputation and the relationship between digital and the more traditional print media.

The experience of Wikileaks has much in common with those engaged in Public Diplomacy and seeking to measure their attempts to disperse information on specific issues. Examining Wikileaks provides a case study of an attempt to map a network of influence and identify key nodes within that network.

The first step is to establish a baseline, which this post will cover, using data from June (prior to the release of documents). The increasing notoriety of Wikileaks during June was paralleled by increasing problems including the degradation and eventual collapse of the secure submission process, as reported by Ryan Singel. These technical issues and time spent dealing with the ripple effect from the arrest of Bradley Manning had the potential to interfere with the core work of Wikileaks ensuring information can reach a public audience.

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National Security will require Smarter Networks

By Ali Fisher

The focus on collaboration in the new US National Security Strategy emphasises the need to foster the skills to convene, connect and mobilize networks. This will require a smart network of diplomats not just smart individuals.

While the Obama administration is "clear-eyed about the challenge of mobilizing collective action" those putting strategy into action will have to build smarter networks if diplomats are to collaborate effectively within complex networks of influence. Two aspects of these smart networks will be particularly important.

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An Introduction to Using Network Maps in Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communication

By Ali Fisher

We live in a networked world. Whether known as family, kinship, tribe, village, neighbourhood, community, work place colleagues, or online social network, they are all networks in the sense of being a series of relationships between different individuals.

Social network analysis (SNA) explores the relationship between actors within a network by identifying the points that people “huddle around”. Network maps allow a researcher to visualise and analyse data on complex interactions or relationships between large numbers of actors. In these maps the dots (nodes) are actors within the network and the lines (ties, edges or arcs) identify a relationship between the nodes which the tie connects.

Through the maps, groups (or cliques) can be seen more rapidly than a through a text based list. Groups that have high levels of interaction with each other form clusters of dots in different areas of the network map.

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