Hillary Clinton’s willingness to embrace the use of technology and bring Alec Ross on as an advisor for innovation is a welcome and critical step for a 21st century State Department operation. Employing social networking tools to share information with foreign publics, collaborating to produce new software to improve services around the world, and working together across borders to improve all facets of State’s work. From a diplomatic perspective, however, installing the critical infrastructure for sharing information is only a first step. There are three crucial next steps that will likely be the difference between a disappointing legacy of good ideas and a lasting legacy of good diplomacy. They are:
- Closing the global digital divide with open internet access,
- Engaging, not lecturing, and
- Expanding and restructuring the Foreign Service’s digital presence at home and abroad.