State Department invades the blogosphere

The U.S. Department of State has apparently taken a page from David Miliband’s book and started its own blog, the unfortunately named Dipnote. The blog’s editors are State Department spokespeople Frederick Jones and Masharika Prejean, who make it clear that this new, hip, Web 2.0 State Department may not be what you’re used to: As ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
598906_071003_dipnote_05.jpg
598906_071003_dipnote_05.jpg

The U.S. Department of State has apparently taken a page from David Miliband's book and started its own blog, the unfortunately named Dipnote. The blog's editors are State Department spokespeople Frederick Jones and Masharika Prejean, who make it clear that this new, hip, Web 2.0 State Department may not be what you're used to:

As the voice of this blog, Masharika has been given one point of instruction – there are no rules. The camera and the blog entries that are posted on this site are based on experiences that organically develop during her travels with Secretary Condoleezza Rice and her accompanying advisory support team...

the purpose of this site is to provide a venue for the general public to receive a "behind the scenes" view of how U.S. diplomatic missions to foreign countries are carried out, the people that are involved, and the cultural aspects that make each destination uniquely its own.

The U.S. Department of State has apparently taken a page from David Miliband’s book and started its own blog, the unfortunately named Dipnote. The blog’s editors are State Department spokespeople Frederick Jones and Masharika Prejean, who make it clear that this new, hip, Web 2.0 State Department may not be what you’re used to:


As the voice of this blog, Masharika has been given one point of instruction – there are no rules. The camera and the blog entries that are posted on this site are based on experiences that organically develop during her travels with Secretary Condoleezza Rice and her accompanying advisory support team…


the purpose of this site is to provide a venue for the general public to receive a “behind the scenes” view of how U.S. diplomatic missions to foreign countries are carried out, the people that are involved, and the cultural aspects that make each destination uniquely its own.

Dipnote kicked off during last week’s U.N. General Assembly meeting and has been providing periodic dispatches from the likes of Ambassador Karen Hughes and Assistant Secretaries of State Kristen Silverberg and Sean McCormack. I suppose you have to applaud the department’s efforts to reach out, but most of the posts from the big shots consist of little more than summaries of their schedules. Readers looking for an insider’s view of diplomacy are probably not going to be bowled over by prose like this:

So, here I am in the city that never sleeps – wait, isn’t that Las Vegas? Here I am in the city that never stops negotiating. From Wall Street to the General Assembly, there’s always a deal waiting to be struck.

Zzzz… It’s also worth noting that gray text over a gray background is probably not the best choice for readability. I mean, I’ve seen MySpace profiles that are easier to navigate. And judging from the outright hostility of many of the commenters, the department’s going to have its hands full getting the site taken seriously. Wonkette is, of course, having a field day.

I also couldn’t help but notice the conspicuous absence of Passport from Dipnote’s blogroll. Where’s the love, State?

UPDATE: Passport gets results from Foggy Bottom! 

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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