This is a guest post by Brian Young, the new webmaster for the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations chaired by Senator John Kerry. I recently wrote a post about the sorry state of the Foreign Relations Committee’s website threatening to create a “One Million Strong Against Senate Foreign Relations Committee Website” on Facebook unless the Committee communicated that it had a plan underway to increase the utility of what should be the best website in Congress. The Committee responded. . .
Brian Young in the note below has asked for public recommendations that could help the site planners. Please be constructive in your commentary.
Delay that Facebook group! We know, we know. . .
As Steve Clemons astutely pointed out last week, the website for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is, er. . .it’s kind of, uh — well, let’s just say it needs updating..
And we know that. As we told Steve, we’re already in the process of redoing the site.
But it’s not an instant process.
Because we’re not just looking to spruce up the website, drag it into the 21st century with links to press releases, video of hearings, etc, etc. We want to do more than that; we want to create a website worthy of the Committee. Of all Committees in Congress, this is the one most suited for a powerful, interactive website.
This is a priority for Senator Kerry. He hired me with this in mind. He wants a site that creates a portal into the foreign policy deliberations this nation needs to have to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
This site will be designed to involve people in a conversation about the future of this country’s foreign policy.
And, since the Internet knows no borders, it can be a worldwide conversation – a conversation across and between cultures – as we deal with the great threats and challenges facing us now: terrorism, economic upheaval, climate disruption, nuclear proliferation, Middle East peace, disease, poverty — the whole spectrum of worldwide issues.
And, in a way, we’re lucky in the current design of the site. ItÃƒÂs pretty sparse; we’ve got a blank canvas to paint on..
And we want the conversation to begin now, as we make the basic decisions about what this site should be.
I’m here to get your input on that, on what functionality it should have, on how we can create this ongoing conversation.
Obviously, we won’t be able to take every idea; this is a collaborative process, and many of my ideas have already been tossed aside in our internal conversations.
But, since you read this blog, I’m sure you are interested in foreign policy and are active online, so you’ll have some great ideas on what we can do with this site.
I’ve always found that opening up the process and experimenting with new ideas are the keys to real innovation.
— Brian Young