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Engaging the Diaspora: El Salvador and Costa Rica's Use of Social Media to Connect with Their Diaspora Communities in the United States

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Abstract

This study explores the public diplomacy efforts of the Central American nations of El Salvador and Costa Rica to connect and engage with their diaspora communities in the United States using social media and other web-based communications. This qualitative case study revealed two distinct patterns of social media use. Costa Rica is using social media spaces mainly as electronic newsletters, as one-way communication outlets to inform about its foreign policy. El Salvador is using social media to foster dialogue with its migrants and to build longterm relationships with the diaspora. Comparatively speaking, El Salvador’s has a more sophisticated or effective social media strategy than Costa Rica for engaging its diaspora community. The analysis reflects on why these two patterns of social media use may have formed and suggests recommendations for ways in which El Salvador and Costa Rica can improve social media engagement with their diaspora communities located in the United States. These two cases suggests that the distinct social media style is linked to the level of development of each country’s political system and the perception that each nation state.

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