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Texting Diplomacy: Spreading Obama's Cairo Speech, Chunk by Chunk

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, June 4 2009

The forward-thinking State Department provided back-up for President Obama's address from Egypt earlier today by reaching out to foreign audiences where they live: on their cell phones. The State Department set up a program to text out "highlights" of the speech throughout the Middle East -- in Arabic, Urdu, and Persian, as well as English. Sign up took place on America.gov, though not for Americans back at home; the New York Times' Roy Furchgott explains that State Department funds can only be used to engage with foreign audiences. State did, however, broadcast a handful of reply texts viewable both here and abroad on america.gov/sms-comments.html. (The first, as of this moment, is in Arabic. The second, from Egypt: "I love obma very much.")

Also lending a hand to the administration's goal of making Obama's address ubiquitous: the White House's official Twitter feed and Facebook application.

Miss the speech, sleepy head? The White House blog is promising to post a transcript and video shortly.