You probably heard about the new deal reached between the United States, its international partners and the government of Iran regarding the latter nation’s contentious nuclear program in November. However you may feel about the politics underlying this development, there’s no doubt that it signaled a new approach to public relations for the government of Hassan Rouhani, who took office promising to improve his nation’s reputation by opening new lines of communication with the West.
Last week we spoke with Jarrod Bernstein of MWW—whose past titles include White House director of Jewish outreach, Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and the Acting Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs for United States Department of Homeland Security—about this event and the ways in which social media has reshaped politics as we know it.
Has social changed the political messaging game?
“Yes. The way that the pundits were critiquing [the Iran deal] in real-time and even ahead of time and the speed at which the White House and other actors have to respond to incoming criticism has changed dramatically and has the potential to alter the way foreign policy is conducted.
This is the first generation of diplomats that’s going to have to account for that [reality] in the way they conduct diplomacy…it will probably be some period of time before any actor really demonstrates mastery of it.
Imagine if someone had been live-tweeting the D-Day invasion!”