Public diplomacy is a powerful tool to connect with audiences, influence decision makers and communicate foreign policy objectives. As the field of PD has emerged, many challenges and opportunities have developed. PD practitioners are constantly seeking new, innovative and relevant ways to impact their audience and fulfill foreign policy goals. Practitioners are faced with the challenge of implementing their programs with budget constraints, overcoming technological and cultural barriers, while also communicating a message that is not perceived as propaganda.
Exchange programs have most notably been the most traditional way to influence foreign audiences outside of modern media. As technology has advanced, virtual exchange has become popular and an effective means to influence those that may not have the opportunity to physically visit the United States. Public diplomacy experienced a time where efforts were strictly targeted at foreign governments but now is focusing on influencing civil society and the general community. The motivation behind influencing the wider public is that the foreign government within that country will be more willing to cooperate if their people have an affinity for the United States. Identifying creative ways to influence the public is one of the main challenges to the work of public diplomacy. However, measuring these outcomes is an even more strenuous task that PD practitioners must constantly grapple with. There are many new opportunities available for doing the work of public diplomacy, which include collaborating with local citizens on projects focused on music, food, culture, entertainment and education. The U.S has a growing role of supporting democracy, freedom and equality, which also contributes to public diplomacy efforts. As argued by the Last 3 Feet, public diplomacy practitioners must rise to the challenge and continue to strengthen their personal engagement through more creative means. Social media and the Internet must only be a supplemental component to people- to- people interaction.