SYTNIK A.N., TSVETKOVA N.A., TSVETKOV I.A. U.S. Digital Diplomacy and Big Data: Lessons from the Political Crisis in Venezuela, 2018–2019

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2022.2.16

Anna N. Sytnik

PhD in International Relations, Assistant Lecturer,

Department of American Studies, Saint Petersburg State University,

Smolnogo St, 1/3, 191060 Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6853-6253

Natalia A. Tsvetkova

Doctor of Sciences (History), PhD in Social and Behavioral Studies, Professor, Head of the Department of American Studies,

Saint Petersburg State University,

Smolnogo St, 1/3, 191060 Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0156-9069

Ivan A. Tsvetkov

Candidate of Sciences (History), Associated Professor,

Department of American Studies, Saint Petersburg State University,

Smolnogo St, 1/3, 191060 Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5503-0763


Abstract. Introduction. The article reveals the current U.S. digital diplomacy applying the case study referred to the political crisis in Venezuela culminated in late 2018 and early 2019, when the speaker of the National Assembly Juan Guaido declared himself the self-proclaimed acting president after the elections. Confrontation between his supporters and those of the incumbent President Nicolas Maduro reached its apogee. The aim of the research is to reveal whether the U.S. has been able to influence the development of the political situation and opinion of Venezuelan citizens through various digital diplomacy instruments and international broadcasting channels. The analytical part of the paper is divided into two sections. The first section discusses methodological issues relative to research in the field of digitalization of U.S. foreign policy and international relations in general. These methodological approaches are tested on the case study, namely the U.S. digital diplomacy in Venezuela in the second section of the paper.

Methods. The methodology of the research includes the analysis of big data and social media. The primary sources are the accounts of U.S. officials, government-sponsored media, Venezuelan media, and bloggers. Twitter was surveyed to the extent that active political discussions flared up there during the crisis. At the time, Venezuela had the third highest number of Twitter users in the world.

Analysis. Using the machine analytics, about 10 million tweets were retrieved, allowing us to determine the place of the U.S. governmental accounts among the influencers of public opinion in Venezuela.

Results. The analysis shows that local digital media, and the activity of bloggers and politicians, including Juan Guaido and Nicolas Maduro, had more impact on the Twitter community and Venezuelans than U.S. channels of digital diplomacy or tweets of American politicians. The more active local bloggers are, the less chances were left for external players including the United States as well as Russia, China, or Europe, to change public opinions of Venezuelans.

Authors’ contribution. Anna Sytnik carried out the big data analysis using Python programming language and developed the methodological foundations of the research. Natalia Tsvetkova developed the methodological foundations of the research and made the interpretations of analysis in terms of U.S. digital and data diplomacy. Ivan Tsvetkov developed the contextual frameworks of the case study. Key words: United States, digital diplomacy, data diplomacy, datafication, Venezuela, Twitter.

Citation. Sytnik A.N., Tsvetkova N.A., Tsvetkov I.A. U.S. Digital Diplomacy and Big Data: Lessons from the Political Crisis in Venezuela, 2018–2019. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2022, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 192-203. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2022.2.16.

Лицензия Creative Commons

U.S. Digital Diplomacy and Big Data: Lessons from the Political Crisis in Venezuela, 2018–2019 by Sytnik A.N., Tsvetkova N.A., Tsvetkov I.A. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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