Monday, April 13, 2009

the opening remark

Can diplomats blog? And if yes - why should they?

Five years after the social networks revolution - and nobody questions the success of the use of Web 2.0 for diplomatic purposes. Look at all the Facebook pages of the Israel's consulates and embassies, that emerged in US and spread out in Europe. Look at the Twitter press conference hold by NY Consulate, that even was mentioned in Wikipedia article on public diplomacy. The examples are many - yet, wneh we look at the blogoshpere the situation is different.

The nature of blogging is expressing the views - as different as they can only be. The nature of representing country's official position is exactly the opposite. Therefore, if as a diplomat you open a blog - what are you going to discuss? Are you going to ask the readers to express their views on this position? Are you going to allow all the views to be expressed without editing? or allow only "good" responses to be published. In both scenarios you are going to loose - either you will get all the hate language possible, or become just another official site, which is the opposite of blogging. As a diplomat you can react to the blogs of others - in the same you respond to newspapers and TV, but you can't really open a blog on the country's policies. You don't question it - you express it.

However, as we're searching the possibilities and limits of Web 2.0, we would like to try this medium of communication. Let's blog about the things that are common for all of us, the diplomats: the issues of dealing with the accomodation for us and our families, the ways of upgrading the learning and training practices in the diplomatic service, and of course the challenges and the very future of diplomacy. So many people tend to say something about the death of diplomacy as a profession, or some other "truths" about it. I think we can and should have a say in this discussion.

May be it would be easier for us to think about dipomatic blogging as a small talk through the internet. And who knows better than us the real value of a professional small talk?

You are welcome!

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