Last week Dipnote, the blog by the State Department, turned two.
So much has happened in two years. It was the year that the iPhone debuted, and Microsoft bought a stake in Facebook. A few months before that TIME named all those people creating content and connecting through social media as the ‘Person of the Year’ – the famous “YOU” issue.
Dipnote took to this new way of communicating with amazing flair. If there is one example of I’ve been using repeatedly to illustrate how any organization could stop firing press releases and start a conversation, it’s been them.
Think about it. Foreign policy to many is as sexy as watching paint dry. But given the right angles –heck, the right to loosen up– and the interest in listening as much as speaking, it turns out to be a different animal.
I have talked to many organizations who are terrified at the thought of saying something that could come back to bite them. Blogs, and videos, and photos pulled from a diverse group of individuals seem like total anarchy to them. It might damage the brand, they fear. The question I get asked a lot is ‘What if someone says something nasty?” –followed by “should we publish that too?”
I won’t go into the responses I give, but you’d think a group of people who represent the brand image of a country must have thought about this a lot. There must be bookshelves of white papers and journals on this subject in their offices. There must be legal advisers shaking their heads in disbelief.
If you look at the social media initiatives the State Dept has rolled out over the past few years, these ‘government employees’ seem to take to new media in a way you’d expect of a marketing organization. Maybe they understand that good marketing is all about good communication. It’s more than the ingredients of ‘technology and talent‘ that Sec. Clinton spoke about.
It’s about using social media as an antenna not a bullhorn.