LSE Ideas creates Twitter simulation to teach international relations

Twitter has been recognised for its ability to contribute positive breakthroughs in diplomatic matters

A new Twitter simulation has been developed by LSE Ideas at the London School of Economics to teach students on the Executive MSc International Strategy and Diplomacy programme.

Through the Twitter Diplomacy Simulation, students were able to author and post tweets ahead of an in-class diplomatic negotiations project.

Titled the ‘World Trade Organisation’ negotiation, students were split into teams that represented different trade delegations, then tasked with writing tweets outlining their negotiation plans.

Teachers scheduled a series of disruptive posts – typically undiplomatic in nature – to run throughout the exercise, increasing the levels of difficulty as the students strived to achieve successful negotiations.

Twitter has recently gained recognition for its disruptive use, as well as its ability to contribute positive breakthroughs when diplomats signal their plans for negotiations in advance.

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“In developing a Twitter Diplomacy Simulation, we hoped to expand and deepen student learning about the role and practice of social media in diplomacy, particularly in regards to diplomatic negotiations,” said Dr Aaron McKeil, course tutor on the programme.

“We’re aware of the impact platforms like Twitter can have in diplomatic negotiations,” he added. “If used effectively and responsibly, it can be a useful tool in securing negotiations. However, social media can often be a double-edged sword, and can prove disruptive if used undiplomatically.”

Dr McKeil has written a blog sharing his insights into the use and practice of Twitter in international diplomacy and the benefits of the simulation for teaching and learning.

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