By Maya Plentz

Geneva, 29th June 2020 — This week we take a closer look at TikTok, its immense popularity with a younger crowd, and how it is turning to be more than a fun place to watch short-short-format videos of adorable dance steps, kitties, and lipsync comedy. 

How do their algorithms work? What about Snap? And its “grandparents”, older platforms like Twitter, that since its launch has been the darling of journalists, who use it to bypass traditional publication’s distribution supply chains, and grow their own audiences independent of the news organisations they work for.

Public affairs and press officers around the globe are experimenting with producing content specific for the platforms to reach global audiences as well. 

We spoke with Andreas Sandre, author of Digital Diplomacy: Conversations on Innovation in Foreign Policy, a reference for diplomats around the world, and Press and Public Affairs Officer at the Embassy of Italy, in Washington DC. 

He is the editor of Digital Diplomacy on Medium, that covers how international organizations, diplomats, and government bodies are using social media to communicate with each other, and how they advance public diplomacy to strengthen cooperation. 

He is also curating a list of international organizations, diplomats, and government bodies on TikTok, which is growing exponentially by the day.

Check the list here, contribute, help build the list, as international organizations and diplomats are warming up to TikTok and joining daily. 

Andreas has been surveying the digital diplomacy landscape for years and gives us some great insights on how to build an audience, and why content creation, taking into consideration each platforms’ format and audience, matters. Watch:

We also spoke with Dante Licona, Senior Social Media Officer at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, in Geneva, Switzerland.

When I spoke with Dante the IFRC had just hit 2.4 million followers on TikTok, 10 days later it has reached 3million. What makes the platform so atractive? How does one grow an audience so quickly? We discuss these and other questions in our interview. 

News organizations are jumping into the fray as well. BBC World’s journalist Sophia Smith Galer is producing news stories that analyze social media platforms reach and impact in terms of political activism online. Watch how she uses TikTok as well, to publish her stories, and check her Twitter feed. 

The format and style is what makes online news distributed through mobile devices so engaging and shareable. And not only for younger audiences. 

So, you may ask, what is the future of digital diplomacy, international organizations’ marketing strategies, news production and distribution? 

The future has already arrived, and it is not evenly distributed. 

We all have seen with recent events and boycotts by advertisers on social media platforms how they operate, creating artificial divisions, inciting violence. But we all see that they can be a force for good as well. We can’t ignore the power that these platforms have in our daily consumption of news and reliable sources information. 

Snap, Twitter, TikTok, are leading the way in addressing the challenges ahead. 

For now. 

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