We live in a world in which everyone who must manage and marshal public opinion, which ranges from democratically elected politicians to terrorists, rely on new and old media to stay relevant. Organizing for this information environment requires requires forethought and planning. The resulting functional structures and audience segments shapes the purpose, nature, and outcome of the engagement, regardless of whether it is one-way or two-way or one-to-one or one-to-many.
With getting further, here is an open question:
In your opinion, what is the difference between Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy?
Please respond in the comments. Also, feel free to extend your response to include the difference between Defense Public Affairs and Information Operations or Psychological Operations.
I asked this same question on Twitter. Here are the answers received so far:
AFPADude: some would say audience, I would argue there is no difference anymore due to several factors
FantomPlanet: What are the differences btwn civil affairs and civil diplomacy?
Steve_Schippert:Affairs is about image, releases, projection while PubDip is about engagement, discussion, 2 way comm on issues. Methinks…
T M Russo: interesting question! my thoughts: public affairs= the workings of gov’t, public diplomacy communicates those workings
The following responses came through Facebook:
PA/PR: Channel based information outflow with the goal of message transfer. PD: Information outflow with the goal of message engagement (discourse,discussion, processing and retransmitting in new forms). Dependent on social media.
Well, the state department says PA is working with U.S. media and PD is programs overseas! Go figure.
Same as the difference between "Tactics" and "Strategy". PA = short term engagement, PD = long view.
No wonder nobody understands, unless we’re all talking tongue in cheek.
Logically, diplomacy applies to non-Americans. President Obama doesn’t conduct diplomacy when he meets with the governor of California. That’s politics. It is diplomacy when he meets with Mubarak. The "public" part refers to anyone outside a government. Thus, anyone outside a government outside the U.S.
Then, logic doesn’t often work and Smith-Mundt was originally written with domestic constituencies in mind and before "PD" became a working term.
Maybe, Matt, it’s time for a new conference!
Already in the works…
See also: see Nick Cull’s Engagement Is The New Public Diplomacy Or The Adventures Of A Euphemism Of A Euphemism