The brief life of America.gov, overtaken by the State Department's "social media projects."

Posted: 29 Apr 2011   Print   Send a link
The Hill, 24 Apr 2011, Alicia M. Cohn: "With little fanfare, the State Department has abandoned America.gov — an ambitious digital project launched three years ago to promote Democracy abroad — and shifted its resources to social media projects. ... The manpower once devoted to the site, provided through the State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP), is being redirected toward the department’s 'social media assets,' which use Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. IIP Deputy Assistant Secretary Duncan MacInnes called it a shift to a 'more proactive' Web engagement strategy. Although MacInnes said the department’s official site of record, State.gov, would still serve as a resource, a 'static website' like America.gov is no longer the best way to promote understanding of policy."

Public Diplomacy Council, 27 Apr 2011, Brian Carlson: "One has to wonder how all those embassy websites around the globe will get translations of official documents, Presidential statements and the annual human rights report if America.gov is no longer grinding them out in (at least) the principal world languages? Moreover, the America.gov website was constantly updated and encyclopedic. ... Whatever the subject, America.gov did a pretty decent job of keeping up with and offering the relevant policy documents and explanations. But, websites are so twentieth century! ... Somewhere, I think, there is room for a discussion of what websites are good for in the age of social media. How should a public diplomacy officer think about a website? ... Good websites require a daily investment of time, creativity and thought that is beyond the capabilities of even many large organizations. But is there a place for a repository of information, a source of documents, a library-like service to the public diplomacy audience? ... [I]f no one noticed the disappearance of America.gov for almost a month, maybe it was not worth keeping?" See previous post about same subject.

Social Times, 26 Apr 2011, Katie Kindelan: "What should America’s agency of diplomacy do to maximize its use of social media? How do you interact with the government online?"

TG Daily, 26 Apr 2011, Lydia Leavett: "As more and more companies adopt social media strategies, it's becoming clear that social media can be used to reach and engage with people never before possible. It’s like taking the power of the Internet and combining it with the intimacy of word of mouth suggestion of a particular thing."

State Department, 27 Apr 2011, remarks by Daniel Benjamin, coordinator, Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, to the New America Foundation Conference: "To counter AQ [al-Qa’ida] propaganda, we have helped stand up within the State Department, an interagency body called the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communication (CSCC), under the Bureau of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, to push back against AQ’s online and media activities. One emphasis of the CSCC’s work has been re-orienting the Digital Outreach Team to place greater emphasis on challenging the purveyors of extremist messages online, in Arabic and Urdu. This has included producing some original video content that some of you may be familiar with."