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Hillary Clinton Says Social Media an Opportunity for Diplomacy

Segun Balogun

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Hillary Clinton Says Social Media an Opportunity for Diplomacy

 

Former first lady Hillary Clinton says social media has the potential for greatness for both politics and diplomacy, but admitted it can also be a weapon of destruction if used unwisely.

The former secretary of state, during a recent A at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, described social media as a communications channel that can be used by conflicting nations or agencies to resolve differences.

Clinton, who described herself as a huge advocate of technology, said she pushed for more use of social media and other Internet-based tools during her time as secretary of state in the Obama administration.

  • “It is really important not just for individuals but organizations and even nations to have a social media presence,” Clinton said. “However, if it is used primarily to score points, to engage in the kind of back and forth that is marked by insults and propaganda and sometimes misinformation, it’s not fulfilling its highest and best use of trying to connect people and overcome differences and try to resolve problems.”

Clinton, who admitted her hopes may be a bit “Pollyanish,” said she would like to see a “maturing of the use social media, not just to score points…but to try to create space for real conversation where people actually listen to each other and where maybe there can be more outreach through social media in trying to create reconciliation.”

She used the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Islamist militant organization Hamas as an example of how social media is used to hurt rather than help. She said people need to rethink not only what they are posting, but the point of social media in general — which is to communicate.

  • “I think we are sorely in need of that around the world right now,” she added. “We have a lot of people communicating, but they aren’t listening. And they aren’t looking for common ground they might possibly occupy together.”

She said she is saddened that, all too often, social media is used as a weapon rather than as an opportunity for outreach, but added she believes it is still possible for it to become a tool of “reconciliation” and, eventually, “resolution.”

 

 

 

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