Twitter Diplomacy Can't Replace Weapons and Strength

Monday, 12 May 2014 03:00 PM

By Ronn Torossian

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News flash to the Obama administration: Conflicts with enemies cannot be solved via social media. Terrorists who kill and kidnap do not care about bad publicity.
The latest case in point comes with the high-profile tweets that first lady Michelle Obama sent. She tweeted: “Our prayers are with the missing Nigerian girls and their families,” and posted a photo of herself holding a piece of paper with the message “#BringBackOurGirls.”
While the campaign to free hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by Islamists is vital, I doubt that the Boko Haram terrorists are counting tweets or worried about negative comments from the White House. People who aren’t in power engage in social digital activism to spur people in power to take action. The first lady can — and must — do more than tweet.
Similarly, at the end of March, when Russian leader Vladimir Putin sent in troops and tanks to invade the Ukraine, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki posted a smiling photo of herself, with a thumbs-up holding a sign that read #United-For-Ukraine@State-Dept-Spox.”
Putin must have had a mighty laugh at that one — and knows Obama’s administration makes noise, but does not take action.
Last week, the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Azerbaijani president criticized an American diplomat, tweeting “Sometimes it seems to me that Mr. Warlick seeks to resolve the #NagornoKarabakh conflict through his tweets.” The longest-running ethnic conflict to come out of the Soviet Union requires more than tweets.
Social media has limits. The American president — and administration — need to have courage and leadership, not hide behind Twitter. In the real world, there are forces for good and forces of evil, and social media cannot be a replacement for diplomacy.
Selfies and hashtags cannot stop guns and weapons.
Ronn Torossian is one of America’s foremost Public Relations executives as founder/CEO of 5WPR, a leading independent PR Agency. The firm was honored as PR Firm of the Year by The American Business Awards, and has been named to the Inc. 500 List. Torossian is author of the best-selling "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations." For more of Ronn Torossian's reports, Go Here Now.

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