MUST READ/LISTEN> Twitter Diplomacy: State Department 2.0

The following is a great NPR piece on the State Department’s use of social media. This story was produced by Michele Keleman and was published on NPR blog “All Tech Considered”  and aired on the nationally-syndicated radio show “All Things Considered”on February 21st, 2012.

The U.S. evacuated the staff of its embassy in Damascus earlier this month owing to security issues. But that hasn’t stopped Robert Ford, the U.S. ambassador to Syria, from using social media to keep in touch with events on the ground, and to try to shape them.

On the embassy’s Facebook page, for instance, Ford has posted satellite images of tanks moving on cities and a pipeline fire spreading toxic fumes.

Ford is part of a new generation of diplomats using online tools such as Facebook and Twitter to get their message out. In fact, these days, U.S. diplomats take a course in what one State Department official calls “21st century statecraft” before they head out to their assignments.