State Department shows off digital skills on Twitter

Tweets in Arabic, 'Twitter Town Hall' and open-source conference highlight digital diplomacy

The State Department is flexing its digital diplomacy muscles this week with several high-profile events and activities that aim to connect with the public and spur innovation.

  • The department today is holding a live online “Twitter Town Hall” for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice on the social media website Twitter and on Ustream.tv.
  • On Feb. 9, officials launched an Arabic-language Twitter account.
  • On Feb. 11, State officials are to sponsor the daylong [email protected] conference with presentations on open-source technologies for diplomacy, featuring speakers from government agencies, industry, academia and the media.

Rice headed to Twitter headquarters in San Francisco for the live chat starting at 10 a.m. Pacific Time, where she will respond to questions submitted via Twitter with the hashtag #AskAmbRice.

“Just don’t ask me my age or my views on Betamax vs. VHS. And keep your questions to less than 140 characters, please,” Rice posted on the White House blog today announcing the event.


Related stories:

WikiLeaks could be thwarted by new State Department system

With social media, State embrace disruption


On Feb. 9, the department initiated a Twitter account, @USAbilAraby, which publishes in Arabic. As of 1 p.m. today, the account had 12 tweets and 619 followers.

“We tweet directly in Arabic,” was tweeted earlier today, one of a handful of microblog posts written in English.

The sold-out [email protected] conference will be held at the department's headquarters and also video-streamed live online. Featured speakers including Federal Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra and Susan Swart, the department's CIO. The discussion will cover topics including open source for data, geospatial applications, education technologies, cities and states, and health care.

”The open-source movement has opened a window for rapid development and implementation of technological solutions in the government space, but there are unresolved issues,” the [email protected] announcement states. “How do we address procurement, accessibility, and security issues? Do policies written for other forms of technology apply in this space? What standards are in place for developing open-source projects and documenting them? What can the larger government community learn from organizations that are already using Open Source technologies, and how might they use them better? And, ultimately, what is the role of government in creating a healthy community for open-source innovation?”

The department’s [email protected] series of conferences are designed to connect technology innovators with those interested in diplomacy and development to facilitate up-to-date statecraft. Previous [email protected] events have convened around Haiti disaster relief, mobile money, and Civil Society 2.0.







About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

Featured

  • IT Modernization
    shutterstock image By enzozo; photo ID: 319763930

    OMB provides key guidance for TMF proposals amid surge in submissions

    Deputy Federal CIO Maria Roat details what makes for a winning Technology Modernization Fund proposal as agencies continue to submit major IT projects for potential funding.

  • gears and money (zaozaa19/Shutterstock.com)

    Worries from a Democrat about the Biden administration and federal procurement

    Steve Kelman is concerned that the push for more spending with small disadvantaged businesses will detract from the goal of getting the best deal for agencies and taxpayers.

Stay Connected