Earlier this year, Foreign Secretary William Hague marked his 200,000 follower on Twitter by asking his followers to tweet the answer to this question:
What do you think is the biggest contribution UK foreign policy can make to the world?
The winning entry was from Gopal Rao (@gopalisation), who answered:
UK foreign policy should focus on emancipation of #girlsandwomen through enterprise, supported by vibrant #socent culture within UK. #meetFS
The prize was to meet the Foreign Secretary and live tweet an event. Gopal met the Foreign Secretary on Wednesday and discussed the preventing sexual violence in conflict initiative.
Speaking after the meeting the Foreign Secretary said: “Thank you to Gopal for coming in to the Foreign Office today, and for the good discussion we had about preventing sexual violence in conflict. Through social media politicians have opportunities to engage a wider group of people than ever before, and this was a perfect example of the value of this.”
After the meeting, Gopal sat in on the first part of the preventing sexual violence in conflict board meeting. Speaking at the end of the afternoon he said: “Seeing the passion and dedication both of the Foreign Secretary and his team was incredible. The building is imposing but the people I met in the FCO are friendly and welcoming. I hope digital diplomacy reaps rewards.”
Hague is not the only minister interacting with citizens on Twitter. Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister Hugo Swire has used the social media website to answer the public’s questions on his visit to Burma as well as on the Commonwealth.