Where are the State Department blogs?

I’ve been reading David Miliband’s blog since he started. Certainly in Britain it’s a first to have a minister as senior as Foreign Secretary truly blogging — and Miliband’s writing is certainly in his own voice. Because he pointed his readers to the British embassy’s blog from Harare, if we wanted to get a view from the ground, I’ve discovered a wealth of blogs from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

It’s a great way to bring some of the insights from a country’s diplomatic network to citizens. So what does my own State Department have to offer? There’s DipNote, the official blog of the State Department. And, as far as I can tell, that’s it.

Hillary Clinton wasn’t the most blog-friendly of candidates, so I don’t expect her first instruction to the diplomatic corps will be to let blogs blossom. But the people around the White House certainly know how powerful a distributed, informal network of communication and conversation can be (I was impressed that the British ambassador to Serbia not only writes, but seems to respond directly to comments). That would be a change I could believe in.

5 thoughts on “Where are the State Department blogs?

  1. DipNote Bloggers

    Actually Lance, the U.S. Department of State’s America.gov website also features blogs (http://blogs.america.gov/). You’ll also want to keep an eye on DipNote during Secretary Clinton’s upcoming trip to Asia. You might be surprised who’s blogging… Finally, you’ll be able to ask the Secretary a question via email or web form. Regards.

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  2. Lance Knobel

    Thanks for the response, DipNote. I may have missed it, but there doesn’t seem to be a pointer to the America.gov blogs on DipNote. I know they have different audiences, and different intents, but some of that cross-flow would be good to encourage.

    I also think that the America.gov blogs are a rather timid step compared to the variety of Foreign Office blogs. I know the State Department is under considerably more scrutiny, so anything written is that much more sensitive, but I get a sense of free, unedited expression through some of the FO blogs that is decidedly absent at America.gov. The America.gov blogs strike me much more as using blogs as another medium to get a well-curated message across.

    There’s nothing wrong with that, but I’d like to see some lightening up. I know there are bright, humorous, insightful people within the diplomatic service and I’d like to read their observations in a direct, unfiltered way.

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  3. DipNote Bloggers

    The Smith-Mundt Act specifies the terms in which the United States government can engage in public diplomacy. One effect of this Act is that state.gov and America.gov need to be separate entities given that one focuses on public affairs, the other public diplomacy. Specifically, state.gov is unable to link to America.gov content. This may be revisited in the future, but we need to abide by its provisions at the present time.

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