Lately, we took a look at the online activity of governmental institutions on social media. We analyzed the central government and Cioloş cabinet, meaning that we took a look at both institutional accounts of the ministries and of the ministers. Our initiative comes from the belief that a dialogue between state’s institutions and citizens is essential for democracy.
This time, however, we will take a look at diplomatic representations in Romania. On one hand, dialogue is useful at both nationally and internationally level, and on the other hand, globalization drives diplomatic relations through unprecedented changes. According to the study Twiplomacy 2015, Twitter is one of the most important communication channels for diplomacy, being useful both for interaction with citizens and the media, but also for building strategic networks and partnerships with similar or relevant institutions. As for Facebook, it is the largest social network at the moment, bringing together a critical audience. In Romania is the largest social network, with over 8 million active users. Therefore, we find no surprise many embassies are present here.
For all these reasons, we believe that the activity of diplomatic representations in social media is becoming more relevant so, in what follows, we present a short analysis of embassies in Romania which are present in social media, on Twitter and Facebook.
Later edit: As a result of the suggestions received, we updated the article with 11 more embassies. You will find the new additions at the end of the article. If you know of any other embassies which are active online in Romania and have not been included in the article, please reach out to us and we will continue to update. Thank you!
Of all the states represented at the diplomatic level in our country, 21 30 of them are active in the online. Of these, the top 5 most active on Facebook are the US Embassy, the French Embassy, the Israeli Embassy, the Swedish Embassy and the German Embassy.
On Twitter situation seems different, the most active being the British Embassy, the US Embassy, the Dutch Embassy,the Israeli and the Polish Embassy in Bucharest.
Most embassies which are active in social media, are representations in Europe (13), the rest are from countries such as USA, India, Israel, Russia, Mexico, Turkey and Chile.
At the level of interaction, we see different communication strategies. While some embassies prefer to use social networks as any other communication channel by posting official information and not entering into dialogue with the audience, there are embassies which work to build a dialogue with the audience.
The United States Embassy at Bucharest
- The Facebook page (65,432 likes) of Embassy of the United States is very active and has a diversified content. Basically, the communication of the page has two directions: the ambassador’s work of the diplomatic mission in Romania and promoting American identity and culture. The most recent posts include TV interviews of the Ambassador, images of American soldiers involved in charity or images of the Ambassador visiting American factories located in Romania. The second direction of communication includes videos, funny and informative posts, IT and outerspace news, short notes on American movies. Some of the information comes from ShareAmerica, a platform developed by the US State Department, which indicates a cohesive communication at an international level. They promote cultural and political values that define the United States. December 1st is marked with a short video message, in Romanian, transmitted by the Ambassador Hans Klemm.
- On Twitter, @AmbasadaSUA (1805 followers) is synchronized with the Facebook page so that the two main lines of communication are being followed. Tweets are redistributed frim the page of the White House, NATO or from the US Department of State.
The Embassy of Ukraine in Romania
- Ukrainian Embassy in Romania is present on Facebook (888 likes), but the chosen language of communication is Ukranian which can be a barrier for Romanian citizens or foreigners interested in doing business or knowing more about the Ukrainian culture.
- On Twitter (588 followers), the Embassy of Ukraine in Romania communicates in English and in Ukrainian. The only Romanian-language tweets are related to holidays greeting. The topics addressed are related to politics and recent history. The retweets are from accounts of media representatives and from opinion leaders. A particular retweet is from the account of the US Embassy in Bucharest, which considers the excellent 2015 US-Ukraine relations.
The Embassy of Slovenia in Bucharest
- On the Facebook page (432 likes) of Slovenian Embassy in Bucharest there are three languages used to communicate: Slovenian, Romanian and English. Some posts have descriptions either in one language or bilingual. The shared posts are concerned with the activity of the ambassador, photographs of cultural events from official meetings and even impressions of Romanians who visited Slovenia.
- The Twitter page, @SLOinROU (72 followers), of the embassy is inactive, with a single tweet.
The Embassy of India in Romania
- The Facebook posts of the embassy (1130 likes) are bilingual and very short. However, they contain images and links that redirect for more information. The embassy shares information about the latest projects approved by the Indian Government, photos from official meetings, information about wildlife and the Indian culture, outer space images captured by the Indian board, photos from official meetings.
- The Twitter page, @eoiromania (10 followers), is synchronized with the activity on Facebook, but photographs are fewer. Romanian texts have small spelling or grammar mistakes.
The Embassy of Russia in Romania
- Russian Embassy in Romania communicates on Facebook (2246 likes) in three languages: Romanian, Russian and English. Posts contain press releases of Russian Foreign Ministry, information on treaties recently signed, summaries of press conferences. The shared content is greatly concerned with bilateral meetings of Russian government and too little with the activity of diplomatic mission in Romania.
The Embassy of Spain in Romania
- On their Facebook page (1336 likes), the Embassy of Spain in Bucharest communicates many cultural events such as concerts by Spanish and Romanian artists, flamenco or exhibitions taking place in Romania. All posts have a description in Romanian and Spanish. The page is used to communicate details like opening hours of the embassy for Spanish citizens on election day. The embassy was involved in a campaign on awareness of gender violence, during which they distributed a series of videos, infographics and shared a phone number for reporting domestic violence, released by the National Agency for Equal Opportunities.
- Unlike on Facebook, on Twitter, @EmbajadaEspBuc (667 followers) tweets mainly in Spanish. Tweets are real-time updates on cultural events.
The Embassy of France in Romania
- French Embassy in Romania manages a Facebook page (12,027 likes) that shares socio-cultural aspects Franco-Romanian relations. The posts come from the world of sports and tourism, but at the same time, there is information on international agreements, on Romania’s recent history and pictures from the events attended by the Ambassador. Mostly, the descriptions are in French.
- On Twitter, @FranceRomania (353 followers) tweets may pictures and videos accompanied by short links. Retweets are coming from Romanian pages such as the Romanian Peasant Museum or from pages of touristic cities from France.
The Embassy of Denmark in Romania
- The activity on Facebook (556 likes) of the Embassy of Denmark is low, but highlights the important events in recent months. Posts promote Danish research results for preserving the environment, they transmit messages of condolence to Romanian families, they publish pictures of the events in which the Danish community is involved and they share Danish news articles promoting the Danish model. The language of communication is English.
The Embassy of Israel in Romania
- The Israeli Embassy in Romania is using a verified Facebook page (12,023 likes) to communicate in Romanian. The images and texts shared refer to Hebrew culture and customs or tourist spots. The embassy organized a contest that drew attention online. Besides all these, they distributed information on the health of the Romanian patients treated in Israel.
- On Twitter, @IsraelinRomania (1463 followers) the posts are not so frequent as on Facebook, while the chosen language for communication is English.
The Embassy of Brazil in Romania
- On their Facebook page (2747 likes), the Brazilian Embassy in Bucharest communicates mostly in Portuguese. They share pictures of landscapes in Brazil and invitations to events organized by the Embassy such as “The Brazilian Culture Week”.
- The activity on Twitter of @BUCBREM (51 followers) consists mostly in texts with a link that redirects to their Facebook photo albums or other items.
The Embassy of Netherlands in Romania
- The Dutch Embassy shares on their Facebook page (4725 likes) international newspaper articles that promote socio-cultural aspects of the Netherlands, shares examples of business initiatives of Dutchme and it shares images and information about the Ambassador TV appearances. Moreover, they promoted projects initiated or supported by the embassy such as nurseries for single mothers or strategies for Roma integration. The communication is done in English.
- The Twitter account which can be found on the official website is linked to @StellaRonner (1601 followers). The description states that a retweet does not necessarily involve endorsement. Most tweets are indeed retweets of: the Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos, opinion leaders and the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The tweets are photos of embassy staff or images from official meetings.
The Embassy of Sweden in Romania
- On their Facebook page (11,321 likes) there can be found pictures of landscapes from Sweden, Swedish recipes, funny videos of Swedish actors or Swedish innovations such as airbag for cyclists. The activity of the embassy is briefly presented on the page but each time they offer a link that redirects to the website where you can find more details. Communication is done bilingual: Romanian and Swedish.
The Embassy of Poland in Bucharest
- Polish Embassy in Bucharest shared on Facebook (5915 likes) images and information from meetings of Foreign Ministers Polish and his Romanian counterpart, promotes Polish photo exhibitions made hand in hand with Romanian cultural institutions, shares images from events organized by the Embassy, as well Santa Claus’s visit. For the winter holidays message, the embassy chose an image of Pleșa, a village from Bukovina inhabited by Poles. Three languages are used: Romanian, Polish and English.
- The Twitter account @PLinRomania (1163 followers), retweets images of tourism cities and images from meetings of Romanian and Polish officials. Languages used are Polish and English.
The Embassy of Italy in Bucharest
- The Facebook page (1901 likes) of the Italian Embassy in Bucharest promotes educational opportunities or awareness campaigns on violence against women and commemorates important events in the history of Italy. Updates are rare, and communication is exclusively in Italian.
The Embassy of Turkey in Bucharest
- The Facebook page (3203 likes) of the Turkish Embassy in Bucharest distributes images from the visits made by the representatives of Turkish and Tatar communities in Romania, messages containing wishes for the holiday season, transmitted information on working hours changes and pictures from meetings of Romanian and Turkish officials. The language used is mainly Turkish, alongside Romanian.
- The activity on the Twitter @TREmbBucharest (1006 followers) account is synchronized with the one on Facebook. The retweets are selected from Turkish news agencies tweets or Romanian press. This account is also used to make an announcement on the transition to online visa application system.
The British Embassy in Bucharest
- On their Facebook page (6806 likes), the British Embassy promotes the royal family by distributing the annual Message of the Queen, and the official photos of the heirs. Although the activity on this page is intense, the embassy does not interact with netizens. Apart from this, the page promoted competitions organized by the embassy, BurEUcrația being the most recent one. Except for the above mentioned contest results – which were offered in Romanian – communication takes place exclusively in English. Nonetheless, the page distributed links to Ambassador Paul Brummell’s blog, promoted athletes from Britain and NGOs from Romania alike.
- The Twitter @ukinromania (3578 followers) account is generally used to convey the ambassador’s messages or other governmental blog articles about digital democracy. Recently, it shared a series of infographics on dismantling ISIS / Daesh through a better understanding of the ideology behind the organization. In other news, the account has been used to announce special public hours for the holidays or to acquaint that the British Government offers scholarships.
The Embassy of the Czech Republic in Bucharest
- The Czech Embassy is not only active on Facebook (5080 likes), but also interacts with other users in the comments section. The latest postings include greetings for this time of year, written in Romanian and accompanied by a picture with embassy’s team or records of the events organized by the Embassy on the occasion of the winter holidays. Another theme on which the embassy recently posted is democracy: dissidence, commemoration of Vaclav Havel and participation in an international conference on LGBTQI rights. Add to all these posts with best wishes on the occasion of the National Day of Romania or of solidarity with the victims of the Colectiv Club as well as information on cultural activities backed by the embassy.
The Embassy of Germany in Bucharest
- On Facebook (9465 likes), The Embassy of Germany is very active and focuses on bilateral relations. The topics covered are cultural activities and participation of German-speaking Romanian students in activities in Germany at the invitation of The Federal Foreign Ministry, information on the economic activity of German companies in Romania, deliveries of medical supplies from Germany for the victims from Colectiv Club, competitions on topics such as immigration or human rights, which the embassy was involved in organizing or sustainable development.
The Embassy also sends season’s greetings and informs about cultural events organized during the holiday season. Communication takes place in Romanian, always accompanied by a description – even when there are distributed materials in another language such as English.
The Embassy of Mexico in Romania
- On Facebook (272 likes), The Embassy of Mexico is not very active, but provides information about diplomatic relations between Mexico and Romania, accompanied by bilingual descriptions. Generally, the posts are about diplomatic relations between the two countries, be they cultural or classical. Thereby are posted stories about of state officials’ visits or about the presence of artists.
The Embassy of Chile in Romania
- The Facebook Page (1576 assessment) of the Embassy of Chile in Romania is used to promote Chile as a tourist destination, to inform citizens of Chile on scholarships granted by the Romanian government, to address Chileans worldwide on national holidays . Romanian language is found only on the occasion of organizing a bilingual poetry series, organized with support of the Embassy and promoted on the page or in a post about MFA Travel Guide 2015 shared on the page.
The Embassy of Albania in Romania
- On their Facebook page (574 likes), The Embassy promotes Albania as a tourist destination by posting photos and video content. While the page is active, the content is mainly in Albanian, and sometimes in English. They also distributed information about the Albania’s integration in the Euro-Atlantic structures. This can be inferred based on visual content, not text.
The only messages posted in Romanian are congratulations for ethnic Albanians in Romania on National Day of Albania or bilingual invitations to events organized by the Embassy
- @AIEmbRomania, the Twitter Account (577 followers) is also active, taking followers abreast of important developments in the foreign policy of Albania. The meeting between Israeli Prime Minister and his Albanian counterpart, which took place in Jerusalem and progress on integration in the EU are predominant topics in recent posts.
Embassy of Finland in Bucharest
- Embassy of Finland in Bucharest (1137 likes) is active on Facebook since January 2012 and posts are in English, sometimes they are translated in Finnish and/or Romanian. However, the majority of posts are written in English which makes it easy to cover them. The spread content is diverse covering from pictures, articles, videos to events organized by the embassy or where its team is participating. The page is also documenting meetings and events in which the embassy is engaged or actions of local interest and further. Posts on this matter are most frequent.
Irish Embassy Bucharest
- The online presence of Irish Embassy in Bucharest on Facebook started in May 2012. With over 2300 likes (2321), English is the main language the embassy uses for communication. Posts vary in content with articles, photographs from events in which embassy is participating, but also videos that mark important moments. As well, the embassy promotes Irish projects and, in the same time, beautiful places from our country which deserve to be visited and real time images from events that His Excellency, Ambassador Feely is attending.
- Twitter activity (83 followers) include posts with references to current topics from events or relevant articles for Ireland, but also promotes projects or photos from events that the embassy is attending. Re-tweets are mainly from Ireland institutions like Presidency or Foreign Affairs Ministry, but also from other organizations.
Embassy of Japan in Romania
- Embassy of Japan in Romania began its activity on Facebook (1005 likes) recently, in November 2015 posting both in Romanian and in Japanese. Posts include mainly His Excellency’s activity, Ambassador Kisaburo Ishii. The embassy posts photos from meetings, visits and events where the ambassador is present. First post on the page is a message from His Excellency which represents also the start of his activity as ambassador for Japan in Romania.
Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan to Romania
The Facebook page has only 29 likes and for the moment is inactive.
Embassy of Georgia to Romania
Embassy of Georgia in Romania with 1184 like on Facebook began its activity in October 2013 and post are in Georgian, Romanian or English
Embassy of Belgium in Romania
- Embassy of Belgium in Romania is active on Facebook since 2015 autumn and has 294 likes. The posts are in English, France and Dutch. It promotes events organized by the embassy or which the team attends, but also articles about the current context in Romania and cultural projects.
Austrian Embassy Bucharest
- The official Facebook page of the embassy with 189 likes, posts in German and Romanian and it is active since 2012. Posts are mainly cultural, but the part which presents its activity, events, articles and statements is not overlooked.
Libyan Embassy in Romania
- The Libyan Embassy posts on Facebook to 460 followers only in Arabic which creates a closed loop for communication. The page is not so active, the first post is dated from January 2014.
Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Romania
- The Facebook page of the embassy has 1171 likes and the communication process on this network started in November 2014 in English or Azeri. Posting, besides the usual about events or visits, the embassy also shares the activity of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan.
Embassy of Republic of Korea in Romania
- Embassy of Republic of Korea in Romania is present on Facebook with 1849 likes, posts are written in Romanian and the first ones are from October 2010. The posts are various, most often cultural related. By the end of 2015, the embassy organized the “Korean Speech Contest 2015” in partnership with Romanian Diplomatic Institute, counting 10 participants and substantial prizes.
Lithuania Embassy in Romania
- Lithuania Embassy in Romania is active on Twitter and has 465 followers. The re-tweets and majority of posts on this account are about diplomacy or culture.
In conclusion, the diplomatic missions in Romania tackle communication strategies differently, but there are a few common lines that they pursue: on one hand, bilateral relations that they have with the Romanian state and beyond and, on the other hand, the cultural events, the political messages and the tourist destinations both from the country concerned and from Romania. The online activity of some of the analyzed diplomatic missions show that behind those Facebook and Twitter pages there is a team of communication specialists; this being the case for the US Embassy, of Great Britain, Israel and Sweden.
Of the two channels of communication at which we looked, Facebook is more used. Also, we have noticed that on Facebook multilingual communication, that may include Romanian, is more used, while on Twitter mostly English is being used. This may indicate the audience which is being addressed: Facebook is to reach the citizens the embassy represents and the Romanian ones, while Twitter is considered as a tool to communicate with other institutions, not just with citizens.
The benefits of an embassy to communicate in the online are visible: the interaction with target audiences is constantly that, through other methods, would require considerable effort. Just one photo may bring people closer to a foreign culture and its values.
Article written by Ștefania Neagoe, intern at Institute for Digital Government. Ștefania is a graduate of International Relations and European Studies and she is currently studying at the Faculty of Philosophy – UB. Alongside she is involved in civic activism and she is interested in up-to-date communication between public institutions and citizens.