Digitalization is inevitable.
With the internet invented in the 1960s, the digital world seems like moving in slow motion until the 2000s kicked in. Back then all of those technological inventions such as the computer, the portable computer, TVs, and console looks like a huge thing every time a new version or maybe the more advanced ones were released. Nowadays? It looks like on a day-to-day basis, everything moving faster, with technology that enables us to do so.
Nowadays, inventions don’t need to be a breakthrough on new objects, maybe new TVs, or even a new type of engine in the car. The inventions themselves started to hide in plain sight. The rise of cryptocurrency, digital banking, a software update to our phone that we currently have, and the one that I want to talk about, digital diplomacy.
Back in the 1990s when the internet started to grow, diplomacy between two nations is always held in an actual place. Where the leaders or the diplomats of each nation meet and have an actual meeting. Maybe the only technological inventions that are used quite often are fax and the telephone either a landline or the mobile phone. Maybe it never comes to mind that there will be a day where everyone did the business as usual but don’t even meet the actual person, in this case, the diplomats themselves. Or maybe there is a time where the public can learn anything about a nation's diplomacy in a snap.
This is where digitalization came to play. Each nation is starting to have its own websites for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it grows into a social media account of the ministries, and then it comes to the ambassador of the respected country. Digital diplomacy itself is often tied with public diplomacy, where one nation’s strategy is to gain the public trust of the receiving country, and benefiting from it either politically, economically, or just being trusted by the citizens of receiving country is always a great advantage.
The use of technology on the diplomatic side is already a thing since before the 1990s with something like TV series that successfully gained a new audience in a global market, or even music that airs through radio or even television. But starting in the year of 2000s, innovative inventions that could help one’s main objective in a place far-far away with social media such as Facebook or Twitter started to grow and gained their special places in such conditions.
The government started to promote their culture through social media, the diplomats are given a special course to learn about social media, and everything starts tailored for social media to gain new trusts, new audience, and possibly a long-lasted relationship with each respectable countries on earth. Everything seems a smooth way towards digitalization, where the developed countries are getting their grip on the digital world, the under-development countries are learning new things and building the infrastructure for it.
But then the pandemic happened. COVID-19 struck the globe with its massive force and forcing everyone to stay at home. In this case, those meetings that usually taken place in an actual place and meeting actual people are changed drastically. Now all you need is a webcam, an internet connection, and an environment stable enough for you to have a meeting. Doesn’t matter who you are, a president, businessman, teacher, or even a student. Everything and everyone is forced to learn and switch to the digital side in a short amount of time.
In these almost 2 years of pandemic and lockdowns here and there, we did not realize how fast digitalization is taking over. Either forced or not, everyone learned that digitalization is the next big thing. Business, school, government, or even a treatment that could be held with a simple click. It could happen.