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What a Clinton-ified State.gov looks like

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, December 17 2009

"Smart power meets smart design." How's that for killing two messaging birds with one stone?

Secretary Hillary Clinton's State Department and its new media team, led by Clinton presidential campaign veteran Katie Dowd, has just launched a revamped State.gov website. Driving the redesign was the idea that the State Department's online presence could do a better job of handling the more, well, boring part of its responsibilities -- assisting travelers with passports, circulating travel advisories -- while also boosting the profile of the more exciting elements of its mission: namely spearheading U.S. foreign policy around the globe.

Gone are the old pro forma website verticals like press information, career postings, and resources for kids and other young one. Now, State.gov's site navigation draws attention to the ambitious policy thrusts that Secretary Clinton would like to make the centerpieces of her tenure at the department. Headlining the site now are tabs for Economics & Energy, Arms Control & Security, Democracy & Global Affairs, Public Diplomacy & Public Affairs, and similarly weighty topics. And, reflecting Clinton's rather remarkable public embrace of all things social media since she's become Secretary of State, the site gives prime homepage real estate to both Twitter and the department's frequently updated DipNote blog.

"Secretary Clinton has long recognized the power of the Internet and its embodiment of the fundamental democratic principals of our nation," Dowd tells techPresident, echoing a recent push by the State Department to embue digital technologies with political meaning under the banner of 21st Century Statecraft. "She is devoted to growing worldwide public engagement, with State.gov serving as a vital component of this effort."

Now maybe Clinton can have a word with her old colleagues on the Senate Armed Services Committee about their website -- which looks like it hasn't been polished since 1998.

A message from Secretary Clinton about the new site: