Over the past few months I have analyzed the twitter accounts of various embassies and ministries of foreign affairs. A recurring finding is that Sweden is a world leader in the field of digital diplomacy. As the United Nations headquarters in New York is one of the most important hubs of diplomacy in the world, I was interested in analyzing the twitter account of Sweden’s embassy to the UN.
Using a sample of the twitter accounts of 56 embassies to the United Nations in New York, I attempted to visualize the UN as a social network. As can be seen below, Sweden is at the very heart of the UN’s social network.
In fact, Sweden’s embassy to the UN is the sixth most popular embassy in this social network as it is followed by 38 other embassies, far above the average of 25. Sweden’s embassy to the UN is also a keen follower of its peers as it follows 37 other embassies placing it far above the average of 24.
Moreover, Sweden’s embassy is followed by numerous UN organizations including the UN’s official twitter account, the UN economic and social council, the UN Security Council, The United Nations department of economic and social affairs, the United Nations Population Fund, United Nations Peacekeeping and the United Nations Development Programme. This finding indicates that Sweden’s embassy to the United Nations plays a prominent role in the inner working of the UN.
While Sweden is not part of the G-7, its embassy to the UN is followed by all G-7 members who have active twitter accounts (i.e., Canada, Germany, France, EU, US, Italy). Therefore, Sweden’s embassy has the ability to interact, engage and disseminate information to some of the world’s most influential countries. Moreover, the Swedish embassy is followed by the majority of countries currently comprising the UN Security Council, including three of the four members who have veto rights (i.e., UK, US and France). Thus, the Swedish embassy may also have the ability to influence deliberations in the UN’s most important body.
With regard to world regions, Sweden’s embassy is followed by the majority of embassies from every world region including Europe (all nations but Russia), the Middle East (all nations but Lebanon, Libya, UAE), South America, North America, Africa and New Zealand and Australia. It is therefore fair to say that within the UN, Sweden’s embassy has a global reach.
When analyzing a social networks, it is useful to identify important hubs of information. In the UN’s social network, such hubs are embassies that have the ability to disseminate information quickly throughout the entire network. As can be seen below, Sweden’s embassy is not one of the ten most important hubs of information.
However, the Swedish embassy is followed by all ten major hubs of information. Through these embassies, Sweden has the ability to gather and disseminate information effectively throughout the UN social network.
In terms of overall followers, Sweden’s embassy to the UN is the ninth most popular embassy to the United Nation with some 4,700 followers.
Top Ten Most Popular Embassies to the UN in Terms of Overall Following
In term of overall activity, however, Sweden does not make the top ten and comes in at fourteenth place with some 953 tweets published thus far by the embassy.
Top Ten Most Active Embassies to the UN
In summary, as is usually the case, Sweden is at the heart of the United Nation’s social network and leads the practice of digital diplomacy within the United Nations. Through its many followers, Sweden’s embassy has the ability to disseminate information throughout the UN social network and may also be able to influence the workings of many UN bodies.