The Foreign Service Journal - January/February 2014 - page 39

Ben East is currently serving in the Bureau of Intelligence and Re-
search. He joined the Foreign Service in 2002, and has also served as
an assistant information officer in Mexico City, information officer
in Accra, cultural affairs officer in Managua and consular officer in
Jeddah. “This Is HowWe Tweet” is a work of fiction; Mr. East has never
run the Twitter clearance process for an assistant secretary of any kind,
real or imagined. His articles have appeared previously in
The Foreign
Service Journal
, and his short stories have appeared in the online liter-
ary journals
Atticus Review
Umbrella Factory Magazine.
Twitter meets the State Department bureaucracy.
ssistant Secretary Crickshaw
wants to tweet. His request (order)
reaches us in Electronic Media via
the staff aides in the front office,
setting in motion a whole series of
actions that repeat the actions of
the day before and the day before
that, all the way back to the day we
first tweeted, which nobody knows
exactly when that was.
First, we initiate the Interagency
Process to gather the Briefing Checklist, the Scene Setter, the Draft
Remarks and all other documents related to the event the assistant
secretary wants to have us tweet for him about. We then consult
the lead office (in this case, Youth Rights/Worldwide Engage-
ment/Sports Organizations/Diplomacy for Underserved Males—
YR/WE/SO/DUM) for an analysis of the pros and cons of tweeting.
The analysis is strictly pro forma, of course: we have our orders. So
we will complete the process per the standard operating proce-
dure, right down to tweeting at the exact second of the precise
minute of the chosen hour, no sooner and no later, as presented in
the Tweet Strategy Timeline, which we are about to draft.
While YR/WE/SO/DUM completes the analysis, there is time
for a quick cup of coffee and lemon pound cake from one of the
many Starbucks within acceptable range (7 minutes) of the office.
Upon return, we open the requested documents, unless they
haven’t arrived, in which case we send a second (but not yet shrill)
request, and then call the staff aides or drafters or clearers for
bootleg copies that might be stuck somewhere in the process.
The Scene Setter tells us why the assistant secretary is involved
in a particular program, and should contain the nuts and bolts on
audience and message. Without reading the Scene Setter we have
no idea when, where, why or how the assistant secretary is giving
a speech, signing an accord, lobbying for war, etc., and therefore
can make no logical recommendation about possible tweets in
the Tweet Recommendation Package that has been requested
Next we review the Draft Remarks, which are probably differ-
ent fromwhat will become the Cleared Remarks, which we will
only get at the very last minute. But draft remarks will give us an
idea of what the assistant secretary wants us to say for him about
a particular issue, which we already probably know from previ-
Kudos for USG
supporting education.
#Education #Girlchild
#Boychild #BagofWind @GoUSA
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