Follow to be followed: The centrality of MFAs in Twitter networks

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This article outlines three major features of the digital society (information sharing, a levelled-playing field, and reciprocal surveillance) and explores their manifestation in the field of diplomacy. The article analyzed the international network of 78 Ministries of Foreign Affairs (MFAs) on Twitter during the critical period of its growth between 2014 and 2016. To explain why some MFAs follow or are followed by their peers, both internal (Twitter) and external (gross domestic product) factors were considered. The analysis found the principle of digital reciprocity to be the most important factor in explaining an MFA's centrality. Ministries who follow their peers are more likely to be followed in return. Other factors that predict the popularity of MFAs among their peers are regionality, technological savviness, and national media environments. These findings provide a broader understanding of contemporary diplomacy and the fierce competition over attention in the digital society.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)687-712
Number of pages26
JournalPolicy and Internet
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2023


  • Twitter
  • digital diplomacy
  • digitalization
  • social network analysis
  • the digital society

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Public Administration


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