If you like the State Department’s Digital Outreach Team and wanted to join them, you may be interested in a job offer I ran across. Orbitus, LLC, is looking for an “international blogger” to engage
global audiences online in discussions pertaining to American culture, society and foreign policy via social networking forums, blogs and chat rooms in an effort to further dialogue and promote common understanding and cultural exchange.
I don’t know if Orbitus has a contract for an Outreach Team at the State Department or the Defense Department, but based on their other job offerings, I would guess the opportunity is actually through the Defense Department and more specifically at the combatant command-level (The CC’s have their own DOTs and avoid US-based servers even if the entire or simply a majority of the audience is physically located outside of America’s borders due to Smith-Mundt).
Back to State’s DOT, which is more interesting than Defense’s DOTs to discuss, the 8-10 person team engages audiences based beyond America’s borders through Web 2.0 to correct misinformation, clarify policies and perhaps put them into context as officials of the State Department. They are a reactive group, much like the practice of public affairs in general, posting comments and replies on blogs and discussion boards and operating largely if not completely independently of the other Web 2.0 programs at State, like DipNote, America.gov, ExchangesConnect, etc. At only 8-10 people, the team should be much, much larger. Tell me, does any globally engaged organization with the size and mission of the State Department have only eight people to work with newspapers and television? Unlike “true” public affairs officers, the members of State’s Digital Outreach Team remain anonymous as individuals, undermining their effectiveness in a social media regime based on personalized engagement.
Cleverly, Orbitus posted their open positions as images instead of text to, I assume, hide them from Google (and very likely the attention I just brought to them). Orbitus is also looking for an “International Media Analyst”.
It’s good to see expansion into the social media realm. Not knowing Orbitus or anyone there, I hope their contact grows for more and ultimately that the desire of the Government to use contract employees goes away as these announcements are increasingly found on USAJobs and the like as the U.S. Government realizes engaging social media is not a surge exercise but a core mission to be staffed by foreign service officers and civilian employees rather than contractors.
- It is time to create a center for public diplomacy discourse and research
- RAND Report: Whither Strategic Communication?
- Comparing the Areas of Responsibility of State and Defense (Updated)
- Still Wanted (?): An Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy (Updated)
- Senate Foreign Relations Committee issues a report on American public diplomacy centers and programs
- Transcripts and audio from the January 13, 2009, Smith-Mundt Symposium are available