The Cable

State Department to hold first ever Twitter briefing

The State Department will hold its first ever public briefing tomorrow using questions submitted on Twitter, an experiment in State’s ever-evolving strategy that it has dubbed "21st Century Statecraft." State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland will stand at the press briefing podium tomorrow and give live video answers to questions sent in by Twitter users. The ...

The State Department will hold its first ever public briefing tomorrow using questions submitted on Twitter, an experiment in State’s ever-evolving strategy that it has dubbed "21st Century Statecraft."

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland will stand at the press briefing podium tomorrow and give live video answers to questions sent in by Twitter users. The answers will then be made into video files and tweeted back to the users with translations in their native languages, Nuland said. Nuland will do this every Friday in January as an experiment.

The choice of languages reveals the priorities State sees in conducting its public diplomacy. Its outreach is directed toward Twitter users in the Arab world, China, Iran, the French-speaking world, the Portuguese-speaking world (namely Brazil), Russia, Spanish speakers, and those who speak Urdu (Pakistan). Twitter users who speak languages such as Japanese, Korean, or Turkish are out of luck for now.

The digital media team at State is sorting through the questions now and choosing 10 to 15 for Nuland to tackle.

"The guidance we’ve given them is to focus on the issues that are really trending around the world," a State Department official said.

The questions might be duplicative of questions asked by reporters at the daily briefings, so it’s not clear how much news will come out of the event — but that’s ok, the official said.

"The members of the public who are responding on Twitter sometimes may not be paying close attention to the daily press briefings," the official said.

Questions can be submitted using the hashtag #AskState to any of these Twitter feeds:

Video clips of the questions Nuland answers will be subtitled in the language of the original submitted question and made available on the department’s YouTube Channel.

 Twitter: @joshrogin

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