Foreign Policy features an article, Lost in Cyberspace, commenting on the silly, stupid, restrictive, likely even unconstitutional new rules under review at the State Department to regulate the social media and online activities of its own employees. The majority of these changes are sort of my fault, given my year-long run of writing, blogging and Tweeting about the lump of coal that our State Department has become. One part of the new rules has even been christened informally as the “Van Buren clause.”
Nick Kristoff of the New York Times joined the battle, stating on Twitter that “@NickKristof If the State Dept is really thinking about two-day vetting of tweets, that’s the dumbest idea ever.”
That prompted State Department social media “guru” Alec Ross to respond “@AlecJRoss My team involved in drafting/approving. Not even close to what has been blogged.”
Ross further stated “Updating our social-media guidelines will help make the State Dept MORE open and social media-centric, not less open. It will also make us faster.”
Is Alec Ross’ claim is true or false? I have seen a draft copy of the new rules for diplomats’ social media regulation. Here’s a diagram from that draft. Please take a look and decide for yourself whether State’s new rules will make the organization more open, faster and social media-centric:
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