Saturday, November 6, 2010

Diplomatic blogging in Paris - first steps in PD 2.0 journey

It's been a long time since I wrote post on this blog. 3 months ago I moved to Paris after being appointed as media advisor to the Israeli embassy in France. So, in addition to all the necessary arrangements you have to do when moving to a new country, I also opened a new blog, this time in French, which became part of my new job. All beginnings are difficult, so I had to take a break from my 2 other blogs, this one and the one in Hebrew. After all, writing for 3 different blogs, in 3 different languages (of which none is your native language...) is not an easy task...

Now I hope to be back on track on all the blogs, and I would like to tell you something about our social media efforts in the embassy, where we put into practice some ideas that were discussed in this blog:

I must tell, the first results of my diplomatic blogging were quite up to my expectations. After 3 month of my digital activity in Paris, the link to my blog, called "Ma Parole!", is published on 2 french blogs dealing with Israel and is well-known among the Israel supporters in France. The major target audience of the blog is journalists and the people dealing with news on the Middle East. Therefore, in my meetings with journalists I tell them about my blog and Twitter, and today there are between 10 to 20 journalists and bloggers who follow me on twitter and read my posts. One of the journalists posted his reaction to one of the posts.

One of the most important things I had to think before opening the blog was what does it mean for a diplomat, who is supposed to represent official position, to have a personal blog? If you publish on it only official documents, it would be just like an official website. If you talk there about your personal views, you are not exactly spokesperson of the embassy...

What I realised after 3 months of trial and error, is that as a diplomat you can say a lot more on blog than you could imagine. Using your blog and other social media tools, you could relate to the issues published in the local media that are not of interest to your headquarters, but are important if you want to engage with the local audience. You could tell to the local public about things happening in your country that were not published in the local media. You can help energize your supporters on internet who will help you spread the word about your country.

We have made some other changes in the embassy's public diplomacy 2.0 efforts:

1. We've opened a new website of the Embassy, based on the Wordpress platform, that allows us interactivity with our audience: After 2 months we've reached 25.000 visits.
2. In addition to my personal twitter, we have opened an official Twitter of the Press Service of the Embassy:!/IsraelPresse
3. Today we have two fan pages on Facebook: one for the Information Service, and one for the cultural Activities of the Embassy
This separation proves to be very effective. We are planning opening another page for the consular services.
4. Our economic mission is in the process of building a blog that will focus on the economic cooperation between Israel and France.
We also invited a famous journalist to make an interview with the ambasssador:

Those are first steps. The results are so far encouraging, but we are still in the beginning of the road. Hope to be in the middle of the road in 2-3 months.

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