Most embassies in Washington do not have Facebook pages. To these recalcitrant foreign missions, I say: Get with the program. A fine Facebook page should be in every foreign government's diplomatic toolkit. The best embassy Facebook pages offer a confluence of current affairs and cultural potpourri, gently finessed for their expatriate, American, and/or young-skewing fans.
But when that fails, the Broadcasting Broad of Governors, which oversees the government-owned media organizations that send pro-American messages to foreign audiences, has begun using social media to go around online restrictions in repressive countries. Perhaps the most important? Facebook.
First, let’s be clear that this was the Egyptian Revolution, not the “Facebook Revolution” or the “Twitter Revolution.” Events of the past few weeks belong wholly to spirit of the Egyptian people, not technology. And although it was built on democratic aspirations, this was not a revolution that drew any inspiration from the United States.
With Egypt in the midst of a revolution and Tunisia coming to terms with life after dictatorship, Syria’s government has surprised the region by taking a potentially significant step to soften its grip on power: it has removed many of its internet restrictions.
A new generation of Egyptian revolutionaries, ensconced in a communal apartment, are trying to bring down President Hosni Mubarak's government by broadcasting the revolt in Tahrir Square on Facebook.
Recently, Embassy Bangkok introduced the new U.S. Ambassador to Thailand Kristie Kenney, using social media as the vehicle. With the help of the Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP), Ambassador Kenney filmed two short introductory videos -- the first discussing her excitement about coming to Thailand and the second highlighting her love of Thai food.
Egypt's internet activists have played a key role in the pro-democracy protests from the outset, but they tell the BBC that the online campaigning is evolving to suit their real-life activism in Tahrir Square.
Inspired by the recent upheavals in Tunisia and Egypt, a group of online activists in Syria has started a Facebook group that's calling for a peaceful "2011 Syrian Revolution."