Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

State Dept. Guides Staff on Being Diplomatic Online

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, July 12 2010

The U.S. State Department in Washington DC; photo by NCinDC

New social media guidelines for State Department employees are now up online (pdf). While we're seeing them only now, the document is internally dated for mid-June, which seems to indicated that it pre-dates the dustup over two State Department staffers tweeting while on an official trip to Syria. That's not to say, though, that State Department's new social media guidance for employees doesn't speak to that situation.

On the details, it's fair to say that the actual guidelines contained in the State Department's new social media guidelines are nothing particularly surprising, boiling down to the the idea that State Department employees should generally behave themselves online, even in "nonofficial" contexts. But one, slightly deeper, somewhat speculative way of reading this 15-page addition to the ever-evolving Foreign Affairs Manual, or "The FAM," is as a recognition that the State Department's public faces aren't only going to be found in public affairs offices, not in this century. Where personnel in a press office in an embassy somewhere, for example, might have gotten the idea during their diplomatic training that they're a face of the organization during working hours or not, that understanding is being pushed out to the rest of the institution.

And, sure, that might be limiting, in a way. But it also might be freeing to State Department employees who might have been reluctant to tweet, Facebook post, blog, whatever, because of worries over how that might be looked upon by the organization.

More from John Moore here, who finds a lot to like in the State Department's new guidelines. (ht @susannahvila)

News Briefs

RSS Feed friday >

First POST: Net Effects

Ballooning digital campaign teams; early registration deadlines kept millions of people from voting in 2012; love letters to Obamacare; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Data-Driven

Get to know Clinton's digital team even better; Ted Cruz election announcement-related fundraising offers peak into the coming data-driven campaign arms race; New York City launches online community engagement pilot program called IdeaScale; and much, much more. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Too Much Information

Will Facebook become the Walmart of News?; Hillary Clinton's digital team; how easy it is to get your hands on 4.6 million license plate scans; and much, much more. GO

tuesday >

First POST: Firsts

Political reporters use Yik Yak to pep up stories about Ted Cruz's campaign announcement; The New York Times, Buzzfeed and National Geographic may agree to let Facebook host their news on its servers; Google fiber users to soon get targeted television ads; and much, much more. GO

monday >

First POST: Cowed

TedCruz.com for president; Meerkat fever; who does Facebook work for (probably not you); Medium, "the billionaire's typewriter"; and much, much more. GO

More