Freedom of Information requests have revealed the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has spent £92,000 on training to help diplomats and staff to use intuitive social media platforms such as Twitter in the course of their work. As a recent study has shown six year old children are now more tech-savvy than the average 45 year old, and a recent ‘diplomatic census’ revealed almost half of diplomats are aged 46 or over, this may explain the big spend on the FCOs tech-dinosaurs.
Condemning the expenditure, a spokesman for the anti-waste pressure group the TaxPayers’ Alliance told Breitbart London: “When the FCO is under such significant financial pressure, they have to prioritise – and they shouldn’t be prioritising twitter. This looks like a dramatic waste of money, not least since many of the beneficiaries have since left Government.”
According to the Daily Telegraph, the training covered “using social media to improve the understanding of public and civil society opinion on foreign policy issues leading to more informed foreign policy making”, although it is not known whether it covered cultural sensitivity.
To commemorate the 200th anniversary of British and Canadian troops burning the White House at the weekend, the British embassy in Washington commissioned a highly detailed cake depicting the action. Draped in Union and American flags, the sponge White House had sparklers stuck in it for added effect. Sensing they may have offended some Americans after tweeting a uniformed diplomat carrying the cake, a swift apology arrived two hours later.
Because of the decentralised nature of mobile internet and ease of access to the Twitter network, the platform has established itself as an important tool in crisis management, with agencies tracking hashtags during conflict or emergencies. Twitter was particularly noted for it’s ability to keep communication flowing where traditional means had failed during the 2011 Japan earthquake and Tsunami, and during the Arab spring.
In 2010, the UK’s much-loved ‘oldest tweeter’ Ivy Bean passed away aged 104. Tweeting wit and wisdom from her care home, she had garnered some 56,000 followers by the time of her death, despite only having started tweeting in 2008. It is not known whether she received any twitter training at taxpayer expense.