Democracy, God, the People, and the Pharaoh: A Master Narrative’s Work is Never Done

by Bud Goodall The Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia last week beget further democracy uprisings in Egypt and Yemen this week, as well as protests in Jordan and Mauritania.  If the protesters are finally successful in Egypt and President Hosni Mubarak is forced out, this eruption of game-changing scenarios inspired by deep conflicts between the people and their leaders, and enabled by the velocity and spread of social media, poses a whole new set of communication […] Read more »

State’s Digital Outreach Team May Do More Harm Than Good

by Cameron Bean Since November of 2006, the State Department has taken its public diplomacy efforts into the online arena of Arabic, Urdu, and Persian discussion boards. Heading this effort is the Digital Outreach Team (DOT). According to DOT member Muath Alsufy, the initiative began after the realization that “there was a lot of misinformation about the US, mainly foreign policies, and there was a void… no source on these forums and blogs that would […] Read more »

The More They Know the Less They Like

by Steven R. Corman I just ran across this interesting release from Gallup.  It cross-analyzes data from Gallup’s Communications Index “which measures the extent to which respondents are connected via electronic communications” and approval of U.S. leadership. The results are not too encouraging.  Basically, the more wired the respondents are, the less inclined they are to approve of U.S. leadership and vice versa. Gallup reckons that the “vice versa” (i.e. approve) results are skewed by […] Read more »

A Broader View of Internet Radicalization

By Pauline Hope Cheong Two related white papers have generated fresh buzz about Internet radicalization in recent weeks.  These papers are in substantial disagreement about the basic issue of how much of a force the Internet is in causing radicalization.  This is a sign that the process is not yet well-enough understood, and that we need a broader view of the effects of new media on radicalization. One report, Countering Internet Radicalization in Southeast Asia, […] Read more »

Alliance of Youth Movements Confab Meets Most Goals but Produces Little Buzz

by Steven R. Corman The Alliance of Youth Movements (AYM) Summit took place last week in New York City.  The event was announced during a press conference on November 24 by Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Jim Glassman and Jared Cohen of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff. During the conference, Glassman described the summit this way: a conference is being held in New York City at the Columbia University Law School that […] Read more »

State Dept. Blogging One Year Later (Part 4): State Department 2.0

by Nicholas Brody This is the fourth part of a five part series on about the one-year anniversary of the State Department’s Dipnote blog. In Part 1 we focused on reviewing DipNote management and processes. In Part 2 we looked at what the State Department bloggers were writing about. In Part 3 we conducted an in-depth content analysis of reader comments on the blog.  In this post I look at the larger context of Web […] Read more »

Can Facebook Defeat Terrorism?

by Steven R. Corman In two recent briefings, one for the MSM and one for bloggers, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Jim Glassman spoke approvingly of an incident that took place in Colombia earlier this year.  It involved Facebook and a march against Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), a Bolivarian revolutionary guerrilla organization.  FARC is classified as a terrorist group by the government of Colombia, the United States, and the European Union […] Read more »

Strategic Communication for an Administration-in-Transition

by Bud Goodall The headlines from WatchAmerica show worldwide optimism and support for President-Elect Obama.  Yet, despite this large and welcoming window of public diplomacy opportunity, there are still 10 weeks to go before President Obama is sworn in and can officially represent America.  In the meantime, we have a world waiting to see if we have, in fact, something newer and better to offer under a new administration while the old and roundly discredited […] Read more »

Did the Bad Guys Scuttle Their Own Forums?

by Steven R. Corman Today the Washington Post reports that AQ Web Forums were “abruptly” taken down.  Abruptly?  Well not if abruptly means suddenly, as in it just happened.  This story has been circulating in the blogs for months, and it’s more like there have been a few waves of take-downs.  It even blipped-up elsewhere in the MSM one month ago. Will at Jihadica reported on a wave of take downs on June 10th, then […] Read more »

State Department Digital Debaters = Trolls?

by Steven R. Corman Writing today in Danger Room, David Axe called members of the State Department’s Digital Outreach Team (DOT) “trolls.”  Axe was responding to some statements by Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Jim Glassman’s in a bloggers’ roundtable earlier this week.  Glassman discussed a recent and unusual engagement with an Iranian official by the DOT, which Matt has already written about. I was more than a little surprised to see this […] Read more »