An interesting piece in the New York Times magazine about the US State Department's efforts to modernize diplomacy through the use of social networking. From the article:
...the State Department was still boxed into the world of communiqués, diplomatic cables and slow government-to-government negotiations, what [State Department Advisor Alec] Ross likes to call 'white guys with white shirts and red ties talking to other white guys with white shirts and red ties, with flags in the background, determining the relationships.' And then Hillary Clinton arrived. 'The secretary is the one who unleashed us,' Ross says. 'She’s the godmother of 21st-century statecraft.'
The article goes on to describe the benefits (the Red Cross raised $40 million via text messages following the earthquake) and drawbacks (it's not just pro-American organizations that use this technology) of social media. Even though there may be serious obstacles in implementing Twitter and Facebook into our national security's strategic plan, it is good to know that the State Department is attempting to meet people where they are. That is, people today communicate online, in short phrases, and rather than lament short attention spans and the demise of good reporiting, Secretary Clinton seems to be embracing the new reality.
And perhaps somewhat surprisingly, many in the church seem to have gotten the hang of this as well. I think of Catholic TV, the Boston-based programming provider, that puts their well-produced content online, and offers an iPhone app, as well as several other platforms for consumers. Content remains king, of course, (and the church has always had compelling content), but kudos to those groups that are finding new ways to distribute that content.