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as it was timely. Social media platforms

are designed to enhance and maintain

existing relationships with people and

institutions, not just push out U.S. gov-

ernment messages. I commend her for

a thoughtful, constructive and proactive


Sometimes I also feel like I have trav-

eled back in time when I am working on

social media. Ms. Shaw is right to point

out that the State Department is behind

the times; after all,


being dumped

by Research in Motion.

Notwithstanding this unfortunate

reality, our Service has made a lot of

progress since my first association with

the department in spring 2007. Our

videos are shorter, our tweets snappier

and our photos sharper; and this trend is

something that each officer can support

and even accelerate.

Ms. Shaw is right to highlight the

importance of training, but her focus is

too narrow because the economic officer

of today may be a public diplomacy

officer tomorrow. All officers should con-

sider taking digital diplomacy courses

like PY360 (available on OpenNet only).

If FSI training is not possible, officers

can enroll in the Hootsuite Academy

or the Salford Business School’s social

media massive open online course

(MOOC). Both are free.

Because raters are now required to

incorporate how their ratees facilitate

the professional development of their

subordinates (as appropriate), manag-

ers also have a key role in enhancing

our Service’s social media capabilities

and capacity as directed by 15 STATE


Senior managers need to hold their

mid-level managers accountable for

“embrac[ing] disruptive technologies”

like social media and “devis[ing] strate-

gies to integrate new technologies into

the workplace,” as stated in the current

“Decision Criteria for Tenure and Pro-

motion in the Foreign Service.”

Mid-level managers need to ensure

that their officers, locally employed

(LE) staff and eligible family members



look for ways to incorporate

social media into diplomacy



meeting or event, to make sure there is

sufficient time to take that compelling

photo, record an interesting statement

on video or prepare a pithy tweet.

Jay Gullish, a former EFM employed

under the Expanded Professional Asso-

ciates Program at Embassy New Delhi,

helped persuade our front office to

institutionalize this by adding a box to

briefing memos and scheduling memos.

Finally, the department can promote

the enhancement of digital diplomacy

capabilities by incorporating employees’

access to Adobe’s Home Use Program at

the appropriate time.

Ms. Shaw calls for the creation of a

cache for best practices to drive social

media development within our Service.

Fortunately, we already have such a

platform: Corridor. While underused,

this platform can facilitate dynamic,

open and informal conversations

among officers involved in public diplo-


I invite like-minded officers, LE

staff and EFMs to consider joining the

Outreach and Social Media community

(available on OpenNet only) so that we

can learn from each other.

Enhancing our social media capa-

bilities will not be easy, but it is impera-

tive we do so because corporations,

governments (at all levels) and leaders

are increasingly using social media to

communicate with their audiences. If we

want people to consider what the U.S.

government has to say, we need to con-

sider these platforms (and the tools to