For better or for worse, in the last few years Twitter has become an important tool for political leaders. We’re all too familiar with the biggest Tweet machine of them all, the big flaming Cheeto sitting in the White House at the moment, but the truth is the appeal of the social media platform is widespread across the world and the ideological spectrum. Twitter allows leaders to seem more relatable and ever-present in the eyes of the common folk, putting at their disposal a huge (or yuge! if you speak Trump) community of people willing to listen to their ideas.
Twitter has not only become a way for politicians to communicate to their voters and constituents but also a tool for diplomats to express ideas and opinions related to the countries to which they’ve been assigned. And Argentina has become a prime example of this last bunch, with an array of diverse ambassadors taking to social media to deepen their bonds with the locals and, at the same time, keep Argentines informed about the cultural and political news from the countries they represent.
Some of them have become influencers in their own right and have gone as far as creating a sort of fraternity among them, bringing the language of traditional diplomacy to the digital age. What’s more, couple of months ago, five of them even took their show on the road via a reunion at the Jardín Japonés, with Radio Nacional there to interview them.
Les comparto el resumen de la experiencia #5Embajadores. Estoy muy agradecido con todas las personas que estuvieron y las que nos escucharon alrededor del país. Quiero darle un gran agradecimiento también a @NacionalAM870, @herlombardi, @jardinjapones y a todos los técnicos. pic.twitter.com/Jl14MpoY6l
— Noriteru Fukushima (@EmbFukushima) March 18, 2019
Here at The Bubble we’ve decided to give you an overview of three of the biggest names in Twitter diplomacy, along with a little insight into what makes them stand out from their peers. They are Mark Kent of Great Britain, Noriteru Fukushima of Japan, and Pierre-Henri Guignard of France. Other notable ambassadors to follow their counterparts include Israeli Ambassador Ilan Sztulman, Swiss Ambassador Heinrich Schellenberg, and Italian Ambassador Giuseppe Manzo.
Mark Kent, Ambassador of Great Britain in Argentina (@KentArgentina)
Any talk about ambassadors on Twitter has to begin with British representative Mark Kent. With almost 52,000 followers he’s the most prolific of the pack and is credited by several others as the first one to turn this thing into a fad. Besides doing the normal ambassador stuff like promoting British culture in Argentina and meetings with politicians from all parties, he’s carved out quite the reputation for being a massive football hincha, albeit for the club closest to his heart: Arsenal. In fact, Kent recently made the news for the following tweet, uploaded once Arsenal reached the final of the UEFA Europa League:
— Mark Kent (@KentArgentina) May 9, 2019
That’s Mr. Kent “celebrating” all by his lonesome at the Obelisco, a cherished Buenos Aires tradition for fans of local clubs once they win the tourney. This dry sense of humor is part of what’s made his Twitter account such a success (for the record, Kent actually inspired a different account created by his Twitter fans called @FandomKent, which is pretty insane in its own right). He’s been known to trade friendly barbs with US Ambassador Prado, joke about the London weather when it rains in Buenos Aires, and joke around with wigs for some reason. Oh and then there’s the time he dressed up as Harry Potter, a ballsy move that paid off since it’s hands down the most popular tweet on his feed (to the tune of 405 retweets – and counting).
— Mark Kent (@KentArgentina) February 6, 2019
Noriteru Fukushima, Japanese Ambassador to Argentina (@EmbFukushima)
With a more serious approach to social media, Noriteru Fukushima has nonetheless found a way to inject his Twitter account with some personality. He was brought into the Twittersphere thanks to the aforementioned Kent, a friendship he’s sure to bring up whenever he has the chance (exhibit A, exhibit B, exhibit C). Theirs is slowly becoming a bromance for the ages and I would encourage any producer out there to do all in his/her power to film a buddy comedy with these two guys as the leads.
— Noriteru Fukushima (@EmbFukushima) March 15, 2019
Fukushima has recently been more inclined to sharing pieces of his personal life with his followers as well, like the fact that he loves rugby, or how much he enjoys and misses the cherry blossom trees close to his home in Japan, or even present his adorable dog named Glico. But none of this comes close to that time he took a pic with La China Suárez and Benjamin Vicuña. I’m just throwing this out there, but maybe La China could play a role in that buddy comedy we just mentioned, no?
En esta nota sobre su nuevo papel la @chinasuarez cuenta que, como en la ficción, ella también es nieta de los barcos por su abuela de apellido Mitsumori. Fue una gran experiencia haberla conocido, escuchar su historia y cómo está tan conectada con Japón https://t.co/sD4RLcFyNy pic.twitter.com/rDBSk3TKjx
— Noriteru Fukushima (@EmbFukushima) March 16, 2019
Pierre-Henri Guignard, French Ambassador to Argentina (@GuignardPH)
In a recent interview with Clarín, Pierre-Henri Guignard explained the main rules behind his use of his Twitter account, which now stands at 7,402 followers. One is to avoid being rude. The other one is to never forget that you’re the representative of a head of State and, as such, you must behave. Fortunately, this does not mean that Guignard’s account is boring in any way. For one, he’s been a strong supporter of the feminist movement, posting bits of news like this one on a regular basis. Besides that, he’s made a habit of posting pretty pictures of Paris every Friday along with wishing all his followers a happy weekend in true 100 percent French style:
? Y como cada viernes, les deseamos un #FelizFinde ?
? ? Plaza Saint-André-des-Arts, París
© MEAE / Judith LITVINE pic.twitter.com/gWGXonRyyi
— Francia Diplomacia (@francediplo_ES) May 10, 2019
As for his personal tastes, what football is to Kent and rugby for Fukushima, tango is to Guignard. He has been quoted as saying that the dance is key in the relationship between France and Argentina, which is why he has organized milongas at the Embassy and enjoys the occasional tango joint on a night out. And even though he’s not as tight as Kent and Fukushima (but then again, who is?) he does take pride in his relationship with them and is the first one to publish the news pieces the group has been participating in in the last few months.
Contemporary diplomacy seems to have found a surprising ally in social media and Twitter is, without a doubt, the ideal platform for ideas like this to thrive. If you aren’t following them already, we encourage you to do so. You will not only be charmed by the musings of Mark, Noriteru, and Pierre-Henri but you’ll be getting the latest from Japanese, British, and French culture and politics in Argentina in the process.