Sunday, January 10, 2010

To blog, or not to blog...

So there seems to be a bit of controversy about whether or not one should blog if one is a Foreign Service Officer.

There has been something of a chilling effect on some current FSOs (see The Hegemonist, who has been gone since June, and Diplopundit who has wondered aloud regarding the whereabouts of Madame le Consul) as well as among some candidates in A-100 training (some blogs just disappeared with no explanation, some bloggers hint at their reasons for shutting them down, such as The FS Rookie).

Digger at Life after Jerusalem has some interesting insights here and here, and there have been some good articles that discuss blogging in the foreign service in the Foreign Service Journal like this one from November 2009.

Personally it seems to me that, as long as sensitive information or secrets are not disclosed, blogging and tweeting and all other sorts of new media (social and otherwise) are a positive addition to connecting with the world. After all, the Secretary herself tweets and the Department of State has a Facebook page, so I would think FSOs would add a lot to the conversation we have with the world (of course I'm not quite part of the club just yet, so I use "we" loosely).

Transparency seems to me to be paramount, and provides legitimacy to our goals around the world.

Today I had a comment from somewhere on the planet about a post of mine. It was like a little bit of Christmas for me: Someone out there other than my mother was reading something on my blog. It dawned on me that I had a reader! (Or at least one person who sent me a comment; I'm not sure that actually qualifies as a "reader"...) I suspect that's why many of us do this, in part for the connection to others who care about similar things.

At this stage, since I know nothing (to which many will attest) and have no secrets to share about anything of importance (other than that little incident with the neighbor in the fifth grade), I'll keep on blogging. Guess that answers the question. For now.


  1. I kept blogging during my two years in INR (State's Bureau of Intelligence and Research). It is pretty easy, even when you do know stuff, to stay WAY away from that line.

  2. I'm going back and forth about blogging my experiences as well, though I'm leaning more toward just writing it on my personal blog and not creating a new one based on FS experiences. I'll certainly be keeping up with you and Digger and a few others, though.

    signed - the other MN Dave

  3. I think I decided to stay away from delicate matters like overt discussions of policy. That should keep any censors at bay.

    BTW, where are you in MN? There are several of us in the FS pipeline getting together here in St. Paul for drinks and FS-talk. Interested in joining us?