Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Obama's New Media Operations Manager To Clinton: Engage Or Die!

In July Mary Joyce wrote a very critical article on Hillary Clinton's “21st century statecraft”in which she said: 
"What more can be done by those in US government?  First: listen more.  Instead of engaging with billionaires and titans of tech,"
And, on a side note, instead of having inspiring lunches with criminal dictators like Paul Kagame, start engaging the emerging African and diaspora blogosphere across the globe. Obama's former New Media Operations Manager continues:
"meet with local activists where it is safe to do so. Stop looking for solutions in Silicon Valley  and start looking within local societies, as the Apps for Africa contest is doing.  Unlike my more cynical colleagues, I do believe that the American government can do good for digital activists around the world, but that will mean truly changing the way we engage, not just digitizing the message."
Mary Joyce depicts Jared Cohen and Alec Ross as the "perfect examples" of how US foreign policy has shifted 
"away from career diplomats and towards young staffers and technology entrepreneurs."
Obama's former New Media Operations Manager believes the State Department still has 
"a centralized broadcast view of media.  It is still far from the reciprocal, post/comment, read/write,  peer-to-peer model of networked media.  America is still the one speaking and others around the world are expected to listen."
And for those who have read Brian Solis' book Engage, this strategy is a recipe for failure.

 Evgeny Morozov has written in similar fashion and pointed to the need for a
"global debate about the future of foreign policy in the digital era."
 Alec Ross' new years message on twitter was:
"I have enjoyed discussing innovation in development with Kagame"
This sickening cozyness with a criminal shows provocative and clear hostility towards the views expressed by both Mary Joyce and Evgeny Morozov. Intentional? Is this illustrative of a deeper rift within the democratic party? Or does it reveal the lack of engagement of US politics towards mainstream America in general?

As Brian Solis writes: "Once invincible organisations are seeking your help to earn relevance today and in the future".  In other words, the State Department has a choice to make: Engage or Die! Are they aware of the choice, or just making the wrong one?

Engagement is an incremental and very delicate process, Alec Ross is like an elephant in a porcelain store.

The US government clearly needs some new social media strategists fast and they are hiring!!

1 comment:

Dr. Michael D. Evans said...

True enough that the US Government is in dire need of a social media specialist.