• Public Diplomacy,  Social Media

    State Department and Social Media

    Have you been wondering how many “fans” there are for the State Department’s Facebook pages? Interested in knowing whether the numbers are going up or down for a particular online “property”? Look no further than this site put together by the Office of Innovation within “R”, the Office of the Under Secretary of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. Go there and you’ll find that as of today, there are 1,011,712 fans for the 191 pages the department maintains. There’s data by site as well. U.S. Embassy Kabul has 3,682 fans, six times as many as U.S. Embassy Brussels (623). A quick look raises questions about the validity of the data,…

  • Now Media,  Public Diplomacy,  Social Media,  State Department

    Discussions on Digital Diplomacy

    The July/August issue of PDiN Monitor, the electronic review of public diplomacy in the news by the USC Center on Public Diplomacy at the Annenberg School, focuses on the subject of Digital Diplomacy. In “Beyond the Blackberry Ban: Realpolitik and the Negotiation of Digital Rights,” Shawn Powers looks at the Blackberry data network as a component of the global communications grid called for by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In doing so, Shawn asks, …shouldn’t we be talking about the importance of maintaining the sanctity of such a network, and even thinking through how to get more secure, BlackBerry devices in the hands of civil society advocates and leaders in…

  • Now Media,  Social Media

    State of the Internet

    You’ve seen Did You Know 4.0, the update to Shift Happens that focuses on the changing media landscape, including convergence and technology. The convergence readers of this blog will appreciate is what I call “Now Media“: the reality that information influences, not platforms. Information is increasingly platform independent and platform jumping. Each mode of consumption will have certain advantages and disadvantages over other modes. Further, the consumption channel may not be the same as the delivery channel. This all conspires against the antiquated terms “new media” and “old media” that describe the conflict of broadcast/print and the Internet. As I often ask in my presentations, seminars, and classes: When you…

  • Africa,  Now Media,  Psychological Struggle,  Public Diplomacy,  Smith-Mundt,  Social Media

    Al-Shabaab receiving support from U.S. citizens and others in the U.S.

    In a press conference today, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the Justice Department unsealed four separate indictments charging 14 individuals in Minnesota, California, and Alabama with terrorism violations, including providing money, personnel, and services to the terrorist group Al-Shabaab. An indictment in Minnesota charged 10 men for leaving the U.S. to join al-Shabaab, an organization with ties to al-Qaeda, as foreign fighters. In Minnesota alone, 19 have been charged with material support of al-Shabaab. Two women, naturalized U.S. citizens and residents of Minnesota, were charged with raising money to support al-Shabaab through door-to-door solicitations and teleconferences in the Somali communities in Minneapolis, Rochester, and elsewhere in the U.S. and Canada.…

  • Now Media,  Public Diplomacy,  Social Media

    Twitter’s impact on public diplomacy

    On July 16, 2010, The Huffington Post published an opinion piece authored by John Brown, former U.S. Foreign Service officer and currently Adjunct Professor of Liberal Studies at Georgetown University. In the op-ed titled "What’s important, what’s happening, and what’s public diplomacy," Brown discusses the limitation of social media as an intellectual or political tool. Instead of heavily focusing on using social media such as Twitter to engage with target audiences, public diplomacy practitioners should execute public diplomacy via person-to-person contact where they can speak freely beyond 140 characters. Brown says, "Much of what twitterers say is as significant as that Viagra ad aired on the corporate evening news. ‘Now’…

  • Defense Department,  Public Diplomacy,  Smith-Mundt,  Social Media,  State Department

    The 2009 Smith-Mundt Symposium: a Discourse on America’s Discourse

    The 2009 Smith-Mundt Symposium brought together public diplomacy and strategic communication practitioners from the State Department, the Defense Department, the Agency for International Development, and other governmental and non-governmental groups, including academia, media, and Congress for a first of its kind discussion. The goal to have a frank and open discussion on the foundation and structure America’s global engagement was achieved. Held on January 13, 2009, just one week before the Obama Administration came into office and just short of the Smith-Mundt Act’s sixty‐first anniversary, this one‐day event fueled an emerging discourse inside and outside of Government on the purpose and structure of public diplomacy. The symposium was convened and…

  • Media,  Now Media,  Social Media

    Engaging in a Now Media Continuum

    By Chris Dufour This post is based on Chris Dufour’s presentation at the MountainRunner Institute’s Now Media 6 July 2010 seminar. This seminar will be held again in 2010, so stay tuned. This past Tuesday, July 6th, 2010, I got the opportunity to speak as part of the MountainRunner Institute‘s “Now Media” seminar at the National Press Club. For the less sharp-eyed out there, I’ve been proud to call Matt Armstrong (MRi President and a highly AWESOME blogger) a friend for some time… even before he provided the first forum for Must. Be. AWESOME!!! in its proto-stage. A few months ago, Matt asked me to help him transform his blog,…

  • Now Media,  Public Diplomacy,  Social Media,  State Department

    Understanding Social Media’s Contribution to Public Diplomacy

    This is part of an ongoing series of journal-style peer-reviewed articles featured at www.MountainRunner.us (and soon at www.MountainRunnerInstitute.org) on subjects and issues related to public diplomacy and strategic communication, U.S. or otherwise. Submit articles to info@mountainrunnerinstitute.org. Understanding Social Media’s Contribution to Public Diplomacy: How Embassy Jakarta’s Facebook Outreach Illuminates the Limitations and Potential for the State Department’s Use of Social Media by Melanie Ciolek View the article or download the article (251kb PDF). As social media platforms have grown in popularity around the world, calls for the U.S. State Department to utilize them have also increased. The perception that these new technologies “redefine how foreign ministries communicate and collaborate with…

  • Now Media,  Social Media

    The evolving role of now media in Thailand

    For a little over two months, Thailand’s brewing political conflict surfaced the streets of Bangkok, leading “red shirt” and “yellow shirt” protestors to violently battle their political differences. The riots killed nearly 90 and wounded nearly 1,800 people, disrupting the lives of tourists and locals, including Thai Facebook users. On May 24, 2010, The Christian Science Monitor published an article titled “Thailand’s red shirts and yellow shirts battle it out on Facebook“. The author, Simon Montlake, explains how Thai protestors took advantage of Facebook to fuel hate speech, peer pressure, intolerance, and zealous debate. Ironically, Thais are generally known as polite people who try to avoid confrontation. Regardless, the cultural…

  • Events,  Now Media,  Public Affairs,  Public Diplomacy,  Social Media

    Now Media: engagement based on information not platforms

    On July 6, 2010, the MountainRunner Institute will, with support from InterMedia, present a one-day training event titled Now Media: engagement based on information not platforms. Whether you call it strategic communication, public diplomacy, public affairs, signals integration, or global engagement, this event is designed to help you gain a better understanding of the capabilities, capacities, and authorities you need to be effective in today’s global environment. While the emphasis is on actors and audiences relevant to national security, knowledge from the course will be readily applied in other areas. More information can be found here. Topics include: Convergence of “old media” and “new media” into Now Media; Mobilization and…