As the world turns to social media outlets for information, how can the interactive web be used to benefit intergovernmental bodies such as NATO? Is it appropriate for security policy organizations to join the fray, or does this devalue the information produced? With a potential audience of over a billion users, is there a way for these institutions to meaningfully participate?
The new paper by the NDC Research Division produces a “how-to” guide for intergovernmental organizations and think tanks looking to employ the social media, covering the process from planning to implementation. The paper reviews cases of NATO social media use during times of crisis and analyzes public response. Questions of infrastructure, human assets and the associated risks are addressed against a background of deep change in the way information is disseminated. The analysis concludes that new media are able to extend the reach of security policy organizations to individuals, in conditions where other systems of information have been either censored or are non-existent. The culture of Web 2.0 is shown to be a permanent fixture, already developing into the future. Controlled transparency, accountability and accessibility are demonstrated as the benefits of social media, and this paper aims at explaining why policy-makers need not fear their power.
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