Strategic communication, and in particular public diplomacy, is generally aimed at public opinion and civil society, with the objective of conveying an institution's position and values to the outside world. Inevitably all external action require instruments that enable it to be in close and permanent contact with a growing number of participants on the international scenario, such as enterprises, cultural and scientific institutions and, of course, the public at large. Public diplomacy makes it possible to publicise and promote a country's positions on main international issues and its main initiatives more effectively.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation is responsible for proposing and implementing Spain's foreign policy in the field of public diplomacy, including the preparation, coordination and direction of the appropriate plans and campaigns. To this end, it coordinates with numerous institutions, including the Network of Houses, the Instituto Cervantes and the Council- Foundations, and with other cultural, economic and commercial stakeholders with a foreign outreach.
Minister José Manuel Albares, during his speech at the event “Spanish at the heart of artificial intelligence: an economic and cultural driver", held at America House in December 2021. Photo: NOLSOM-MAUC
Digital communication is a key tool for diplomatic work. It forms part of public diplomacy and is implemented, in the case of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, on the websites and social network profiles of the Ministry as well as through the network of Diplomatic Missions.
In the field of foreign action, social networks are not a means of optional use but an unavoidable and indispensable tool for communication. Digital diplomacy is therefore not an alternative or complementary way of carrying out diplomatic work. Digital communication is already an inherent part of it and, against this background, social networks constitute the most immediate and significant instrument. They are also a decisive lever in the fields of public diplomacy, strategic communication and in the fight against disinformation.
José Manuel Albares talks with the Director of Asia House at the institution's headquarters in Barcelona. Photo: NOLSOM-MAUC.
The chronological evolution and extent of the digital deployment of Spanish diplomacy clearly reflects its commitment to digital diplomacy, which is complemented by the work carried out by Spain's Missions abroad. All the Embassies, Consulates and Permanent Representations have their own websites, linked to that of the Ministry, and practically all are also present on social networks. The number of profiles of the Representations and Consulates has increased from 50 in 2014 to more than 300 in 2022. Currently, all Embassies, the ten Permanent Representations and three quarters of the Consulates have profiles on social networks.