The United States Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand experienced a leap in Facebook fans late last week, an increase that appears to be tied to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's time in Cambodia with popular Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
The embassy's Facebook presence grew dramatically despite a lack of associated news stories and a consistent but unimpressive flow of Twitter mentions.
Over the past month, 6,036 new users became fans of the embassy, with a whopping 3,959 “liking” the page over the past seven days. The embassy hasn't seen a leap like this since November 2011, and though the addition of new fans has slowed down a bit since July 13th, the number of Facebook users signing up for status updates from the page remains higher than average. In fact, 40 new fans subscribed in the time it took to compile this article!
OhMyGov has traced the sudden leap in likes to Secretary of State Clinton's keynote address at the US-ASEAN Business Forum's C2C: Commitment to Connectivity conference. While in Siem Reap, Cambodia for the event, the Secretary met with Thailand's first female prime minister, a young politician who has been well-received by her country. The event was heavily promoted by related agencies across both Facebook and Twitter.
The issues discussed by the pair of leaders included recovery from last year's flooding in Thailand, as well as human trafficking, money laundering, and the King's recent pardon of American citizen Joe Gordon, who was jailed for his online translation of a banned biography of the royal. The subjects themselves seem unrelated to the U.S. Embassy's social media boost. It appears that pictures of the two leading ladies have caused the leap.
Both Prime Minister Shinawatra and the U.S. Department of State published a selection of photos from the conference on Facebook.
Shinawatra has an audience of 610,600 fans, while the department has nearly 150,000. Their popularity seems to have contributed to the spike in “likes” received by the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, which also shared photos of the two women.
The pictures spurred hundreds of “likes,” numerous shares, and dozens of positive comments from Facebook users speaking both English and Thai.