What Comes Next for New Media and Public Diplomacy?


Among other firsts, President Obama is undoubtedly our first “New Media” president. The Obama team came into power through its revolutionary internet fundraising success and clearly intends to find new ways to use the internet to advance its agenda.
The most obvious indications of this are the Obama administration’s revamped White House website, its well-organized and comprehensive YouTube channel, and Obama’s now famous Al-Arabiya interview.
But as Steve Clemons has pointed out on this blog, political leaders are only beginning to learn how to use new media to advance their public diplomacy and political agendas.
In the clip above (at about 29:15), British Foreign Secretary and blogger David Miliband tells the story of a former British ambassador to Afghanistan who used his camera phone to educate citizens of his home country about the legacy of Soviet occupation.
It will be interesting to see how far the United States and other governments will go to empower their foreign servants and international development workers to tell stories like this – and how the benefits and risks of these kinds of public diplomacy will be managed.
Those interested in this topic might also want to check out this interview with Facebook Vice President of Global Communications, and Public Diplomacy Elliot Schrage.
— Ben Katcher


3 comments on “What Comes Next for New Media and Public Diplomacy?

  1. WigWag says:

    You know, Steve, you’re right. Maybe if Josh Marshall had shown up at the diva’s party she would have quoted his blog too instead of plagiarizing what he wrote.
    By the way, Dowd isn’t the only person citing the Wilkerson post from the Washington Note; Bob Somerby at the Daily Howler also mentioned the Wilkerson piece in your blog(it has apparently become quite famous).
    This is what Somerby had to say yesterday (May 18th)
    “Wilkerson made a strange, insult-laden appearance on last Tuesday’s Rachel Maddow Show (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/15/09). The next day, Wilkerson expanded his presentation in this now-famous post at the Washington Note. His unreliable intellectual style was on vivid display—when he kept using an apparent quotation which wasn’t a real quotation, for instance. In our experience, people who cut corners this way often turn out to be unreliable. So too with the childish name-calling Wilkerson carried over from his Maddow appearance. It’s childish—but it pleases us rubes.”
    I hope your trip is going well.


  2. Steve Clemons says:

    And WigWag, you forgot to note that Maureen did quote my blog in said article — so attending that party paid off. 😉
    best, steve


  3. WigWag says:

    Speaking of new media, Steve Clemons must find himself in quite a quandry. His hero Maureen Dowd was just caught plagerizing from his friend Josh Marshall. I wonder whose side Steve is going to take. Of course Maureen does throw better parties and she does live in JFK’s old house. That’s got to count for something!


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