Earlier this month, I had the great honour of being appointed Minister for External Affairs and International Development in the Scottish Government.
One of the main purposes of my new role is to foster Scotland’s links with the world, to nurture our many treasured ties as well as building new relationships.
Throughout history, our nation has helped shape the world with Scots venturing to new shores to start businesses, families and careers and to export our unique culture. From the shipyards of the river Clyde, we reached every corner of the globe. In today’s world, through the social media revolution, we are discovering a whole new world.
In turn, we have become known for our friendly and hospitable nature, and we continue to welcome new Scots who make such a positive contribution to our economy and our society.
Social media provides Scots with the opportunity to connect in ways that wouldn’t have seemed possible just a few years ago. The opportunity to share ideas, to act together on projects, to make our voices heard and to hear the voices of others.
The Scottish Government has a vision of a truly digital country, with a world class digital infrastructure that will enable us to compete on the international stage. A country which harnesses the opportunities of the digital age to create new businesses, deliver better services and enrich our cultural life.
Social media has the power to transform what we do and how we do it. It challenges governments, creates social movements and develops new markets. It allows us to explore innovative ways of working together, new opportunities to generate engaging content and new chances to strike up conversations with those who share our interests and passions.
In a time of increased political apathy, the advancement of social media has given policy makers and politicians a new way to engage with those they represent.
Social Media Week connects Glasgow with twelve cities across the globe. It places one of our great cities at the heart of digital collaboration and sends a signal to the world that Scotland is not only embracing new technology but is determined to lead the way in its development and application in the years ahead.
I look forward to building on the connections that Social Media week will create and working to ensure that Scotland is seen as a leading digital nation.
Minister for External Affairs and International Development