Thursday, October 04, 2007

Say It Aint So

I rarely think in three-letter acronyms. I'm a big words kind of gal. But when I saw "Dipnote" as the name of the new State Department weblog, I could only gasp "OMG!" in response. Don't they realize that the word "dip" often goes in front of other uncomplimentary words? And yet they chose to name "the State Department's first-ever blog" something that makes anyone with half a nervous system titter.

Indeed, as The Washington Post reports, n00bs at the State Department are posting breathless comments like "Another busy day in New York!" and "I'm exhausted!" from their diplomats rather than substantive analysis and the presentation of primary sources by posting links and images. Amazingly, Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and former George Bush speechwriter Karen Hughes is describing herself as a guest of "The 'Oprah' of Indonesia" on the blog to describe her agency's new media presence.

Frankly, when it comes to federal agencies, I just don't understand how college-educated people under the age of ninety could continue to put such consistently terrible material on the Internet. Are there now questions on the Federal Civil Service examination designed to screen out people with online lives much as they try to screen out potential employees who might go postal?

I've sort of come around to forgiving them for their terrible treacly children's websites with stupid cartoon characters and games. After all, maybe they don't have children. Maybe they don't know any children. But these people in Public Diplomacy only have one job: advertising the agenda of the United States in the best possible way. The Pentagon as usual has been leading the way, as it does with everything in this administration, by having within its New Media Directorate an office that's being called "Blogosphere Initiatives."

In any case, I think I may already have a "winner" for 2007 in the Public Diplomacy category of my annual awards for bad government media-making, the Foleys.

So I've made my own new and improved State Department Blog, Dopenote.

Update: I found this amazingly vapid statement of purpose on Government Executive to describe the program: "Dipnote" aims to give Net surfers an insider's view of diplomacy and diplomats with informal, chatty posts from key senior players in Washington and abroad as well as a younger generation weaned on e-mail for whom traditional cable traffic communication is foreign." Apparently, they've gone through several iterations of the name, including "Diploblog," and that the man behind the scenes is "thirty something" Frederick Jones.

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Blogger Fang Bastardson said...

As outrages go, the federal government not being forthcoming on a website ostensibly dedicated to that very purpose should hardly come as a surprise, especially this administration. They specialize in the self-contained punchline.


9:17 AM  

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