“This blog does not represent official U.S. Department of State communications.”
And yet, Dipnote is the voice of the State department, and the “official blog” which just started it’s blog last month. The disclaimer, notwithstanding, is just a way of saying it does not over-ride the content on the office site.
The blog has lofty goals: “to create a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world for the benefit of the American people and the international community.”
A breath of fresh air? Definitely. Especially when public officials are allowed to speak (their minds?) on topics on anything from Darfur, the Afghanistan situation, the Dalai Lama’s visit, and even Blackwater.
The good thing is that they have posted not-so favorable comments, and commentary reflects an international audience. One post from Rafael Foley in Iraq had over 360 comments. What’s not very clear is how much of censoring and editing is done to comments (even it has a seven-point comment policy) since I notice a few instances of using ellipses.
If Dipnote aims at some degree of transparency, why not officially represent the department? Why not expand its offering so that people could leave questions for an official to respond? With RSS feeds it could then reach out to a wider audience. Interestingly, the main State Dept site allows you to ask a question from an official or ambassador. But the transcripts of responses somehow come across as canned policy statements. Dipnote could make these officials come across as being more human.