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US Primes New Generation of Digital Diplomat
Source: futuregov.asia
Source Date: Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government
Country: United States
Created: Oct 22, 2010

Social media ranks high as a key tool in helping government organizations stay dynamic, Janice Fedak, Deputy CIO, Business, Management and Planning, Department of State, United States told over 200 public sector and industry thought leaders at the opening of the FutureGov Summit 2010 last week.

The State Department has just published its three-year plan where grooming a generation of ‘Digital Diplomats’ was one of three goals. The other two priorities in the strategic plan were cloud computing and IT leadership.

Wiki, blogs, and Facebook are tools which have proved effective, according to Fedak. “An internal wiki to share information grew by 300 per cent in the first year it was launched. Deskipedia, for example, is a wiki for State Department Desk Officers to share expertise. At the moment, we have 15 per cent of ambassadors and diplomats blogging,” she said.

As Diplomats move every year, it is important to create platforms that they can contribute and connect with others regardless of location. “The Communities@State programme hosts several networks where non-IT savvy people can easily share and update content. There are virtual groups such as the Japan Economic Scope, Smart Leadership, Archipelago Online, and so on,” Fedak described.

The flexibility, speed and ease of using such tools were evident in the recent Haiti earthquake. Wikis were quickly created for our task forces to communicate with one another. Externally, a crowd-sourcing platform collected messages from the public which generated over 80,000 actionable items per day.

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