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