Using #SMEM Lessons Learned for Public Diplomacy

What do natural disasters and social media swarm-fueled diplomatic disasters, such as the recent anti-Islam film riots, have in common? One hundred percent certainty that they will occur regularly, albeit unpredictably. Now that one third of the world's population has Internet access and 79 percent of people in the developing world have a mobile phone (more than the percentage with access to electricity), anything anybody writes on social media, no matter how … [Read more...]

HOW TO: Ground VOA’s Global Ambitions in Reality

Just after reading a fascinating post on Mobile Mahaal, an innovative experiment making radio more interactive in Afghanistan, I read another by Kim Andrew Elliott on proposed Voice of America (VOA) budget cuts and programs "under other names." Kim wrote: "Congress should not spend money on an international news service that the private sector can accomplish at no cost to the taxpayers." Kim's comment was in reaction to a post on the Mountain Runner blog by David … [Read more...]

Strategic or Scary? Public Diplomacy Commission Cut

After Tripoli fell to anti-Gaddafi forces last August, I remembered a particularly clairvoyant blog post/radio interview I ran across a couple of months earlier. The blog post/radio interview gave a spot on analysis of how information could be used to empower Libyans to take back their own country. When I went back to the blog to find out if its author had any new predictions, I found out the Mountain Runner blog was on hiatus because its author had recently … [Read more...]

500 Years of British & World History Sold on eBay?

Ironically, the day before the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, a blog post about the closing of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) library caught my eye. The post contained an unsettling quote from the British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs William Hague: "Finally, as a politician and part time historian I was surprised and indeed shocked upon my arrival here by the sight of the vast expanse of empty wooden shelves … [Read more...]

State Department Abandons Cold War Mindset!

I was greatly relieved to learn the U.S. Department of State is recalibrating its public diplomacy efforts toward social media and finally abandoning its Cold War mindset. As part of these efforts,, an ambitious public diplomacy portal launched during the Bush years, has been shut down. According to The Hill: A message on the front page of informs visitors that, as of March 31, the site is not being updated and will be archived. A notice … [Read more...]