Screenshot of AFP's e-diplomacy hub
AFP: the e-diplomacy hub

by Marlowe Hood, Project Manager for AFP's e-diplomacy hub

Agence France Presse has designed a tool to monitor what the world’s top foreign policy actors – from presidents and diplomats to experts, activists and even illegal armed groups – are saying on Twitter about breaking news.  Whether the civil war in Syria, the French incursion into Mali or VIP chatter at Davos, AFP’s Tweet Wire opens a real-time window onto the realm of digital diplomacy. The tweets are generated by AFP's The e-diplomacy Hub, a Twitter-based application powered by a database with 4,500 individually-validated accounts -- a Who’s Who of social network-based international relations.

The tool can produce three types of Twitter feeds. One is based on the hashtags (key words) most commonly cited by the digital digerati referenced in The Hub. Below, for example, is a refreshable feed with tweets that include at least one of the following: #syria or #assad or #syrie (in French).  All tweets feature a ‘translate’ button to convert text into English.    

And here’s a feed monitoring Twitter’s digital discussion on Mali:

A second type of feed is based on all the tweets generated by accounts associated with a particular country.  Here, for example, is the Twitter feed fed by 200+ accounts from American diplomats, experts and activists:

Finally, a third type of feed looks at the Twitter digital diplomacy ‘dialogue’ between a chosen country and all other nations, composed of tweets – again, generated by the 4,500 accounts in The e-diplomacy Hub – in which a specific account (e.g. @BarackObama) is mentioned.  Here’s the feed, for example, related to Egypt: