Contest Calls for Tweet-Length Odes to Democracy
BY Nancy Scola | Monday, January 11 2010
The more cynical amongst us might have looked at Hillary Clinton's rush to embrace "21st Century Statecraft" when she landed in the Secretary of State seat as a chance to make up for all that wasn't done online and with technology during her '08 presidential bid. It wouldn't be a first time that a politician took the "just add Internet" approach to reviving his or her political fortunes. But it seems like every other initiative to come out of the Secretary's office these days has some networked component:
The U.S. Department of State announces the launch of the global “Democracy is…” Twitter Contest. Tweet what you think democracy is using the hash symbol: #democracyis. The goal is to provide a worldwide platform in which people can discuss the meaning of democracy and exchange ideas from diverse perspectives.
The global “Democracy is…” Twitter Contest begins today at 5:30 p.m. EST and ends January 21, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. EST. To join the contest, become a Twitter follower of @demvidchallenge and tweet what you think democracy is in 140 characters or less. The contestant whose tweet with the greatest number of unique re-tweets will receive a Flip Video HD Camcorder. The winner will be announced on the Democracy Video Challenge Facebook fan page  on January 25, 2010. Only one re-tweet per user will count in the official tally. Additional contests will be announced throughout the year.
Whether or not this social-networks-as-foreign-policy approach will bear fruit is still very much an open question, but it is bleeding into the broader foreign policy discussions, it seems. Indiana Senator Richard Lugar, the ranking Republican has taken to Foreign Policy to heap praise on the Clinton State Department's focus on digital tools.