The organizers of the G20 Seoul Summit (multilateral diplomacy) are embracing new media and technology (digital diplomacy) as tools of public diplomacy. They’re on both Twitter (@g20seoulsummit; @g20jieae) and Facebook. The Chairman of the Presidential Committee for the G20 Seoul Summit, SaKong Il, has recently even launched his blog.

The days of ‘New Diplomacy’ have come and gone. We post, poke, comment, ‘like’ and tweet.    New technology has ushered in an “age of Twittering bureaucrats”; an arena without precedent.

Welcome to the age of 21st-century statecraft.

Hillary Clinton, the U.S. Secretary of State, has a senior adviser for innovation, Alec Ross – a first. Last month, The New York Times Magazine featured Ross and his colleague Jared Cohen in a piece on digital diplomacy. Like others, Ross and Cohen are bringing “diplomacy into the digital age, by using widely available technologies to reach out to citizens, companies and other non-state actors.”  

During the June Toronto G20 Summit, the accredited media were encouraged to ‘follow’ the Twitter account of Dimitri Soudas, the Communications Director and Spokesman for Canadian Prime Minister Harper for breaking news and immediate updates.  

With many G20 leaders on Twitter, can the much criticized and self-proclaimed global economic steering committee achieve transparency through Twitter?  The tweets of leaders may act as a direct line to the public without filter or time delay, but can closed summit negotiations work with ‘open doors’ and active thumbs?

Looking to follow the summit on Twitter? Search the site using the hasthtag #G20SeoulSummit or #G20.

CIGI’s Twitter Account:


Seoul G20 Summit:


International Organizations:


Deanne Leifso is a research officer at The Centre for International Governance Innovation. She has her MA in political science from the University of Waterloo, Ontario.

(Image Credit: Flickr user stevegarfield)

The opinions expressed in this article/multimedia are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of CIGI or its Board of Directors.