Welcome to Dipnote

Posted by Sean McCormack
September 25, 2007
Sean McCormack During Morning Press Gaggle

Welcome to the State Department's first-ever blog, Dipnote. As a communicator for the Department, I have the opportunity to do my fair share of talking on a daily basis. With the launch of Dipnote, we are hoping to start a dialogue with the public. More than ever, world events affect our daily lives--what we see and hear, what we do, and how we work. I hope Dipnote will provide you with a window into the work of the people responsible for our foreign policy, and will give you a chance to be active participants in a community focused on some of the great issues of our world today.

With Dipnote we are going to take you behind the scenes at the State Department and bring you closer to the personalities of the Department. We are going to try and break through some of the jargon and talk about how we operate around the world.

We invite you to participate in this community, and I am looking forward to stepping away from my podium every now and then into the blogosphere. Let the conversation begin.

PS - We're new at this. It looks like we broke our own rule and used State jargon in our blog title. "Dipnote" refers to a diplomatic note. It is one of the many ways in which governments formally communicate with each other.

The dictionary definition of a diplomatic note is: "A formal communication between an ambassador and a minister (usually the foreign minister) of this host government or another ambassador."

Comments

Comments

Edward
|
United States
September 30, 2007

Edward writes:
If the U.S. decides to bomb Iran, will the President seek a declaration of war first or will he just go ahead and start the war on his own authority? In my view, the President should obtain a declaration of war before bombing Iran.
An American Citizen

Gayle
|
North Carolina, USA
October 1, 2007

Gayle in North Carolina writes:
My own soapbox here...trying to get the attention of DoS [U.S. Department of State] and their role in Guatemalan adoptions. We are at a crucial point, one of no return. If the U.S. supports the suspension of adoptions for an act of reform, so be it. I am behind you all the way. BUT...if the U.S. does not step up to the bat for its citizens that are still in process of bringing their children home, then I am ashamed. There are thousands of Americans in jeopardy of losing their children. And what is worse is the future of these children. They will be left in a land that has abandoned them and has chosen a few dollars over the welfare of its own. They have no where to go. I call to everyone reading this sight to read about Guatemalan adoptions and research what two governments are trying to quietly pass through the night. It is a travesty. I also plead with, as a mother, to make your voice known. We need your support. If we allow this to happen...God bless us all. For we have allowed greed and evil to win over humanity and love for our neighbors!

Digital C.
May 7, 2010

Last test comment for today!

Daniel S.
October 2, 2007

Dipnote Blogger Frederick Jones writes:
@ Fernando in Arizona -- Fernando, thanks for the suggestion. It is our goal to have a variety of people within the Department blog. I've worked here at the Department for years and know very little about what Diplomatic Couriers do on a daily basis. I'll try to locate someone in the Courier service to blog for the site.

Daniel S.
October 2, 2007

Dipnote Blogger Frederick Jones writes:
@ Kat in Missouri -- Kate, appreciate your comment. I was wondering what negative connotations Dipnote raises with you. Is it the use of "dip", like the schoolyard taunt, "You're such a dip." (I never knew what a dip was!) As you'll note in Assistant Secretary McCormack's welcome post, Dipnote is short for diplomatic note, a tool that diplomats use to communicate with each other. We thought it was a good fit, as this is our attempt do communicate with the general public. Would love to hear your suggestions for alternative names, please send them when you have a few.

William M.
|
Canada
October 1, 2007

William in Canada writes:
I feel this is going to be a great blog. The comments in here are excellent reading. I think this will end up being one of the highest visited government websites.

Brian H.
October 1, 2007

Brian writes:
Uh, guys. The DipNote name is a shining example of your serious disconnect from the world of public discourse. Believe me, "Diplomatic" is not the word that springs to mind when hearing/reading "Dip".

It's "Dipstick". Look that up in "The Urban Dictionary".
" dip
A rip to use on a person who is confused, or looking stupid in a situation. Also a person who is dim, moronic, or a simple minded ass-hole.""Dipstick
One who has the intelligence of an oil dipstick in a car. Usually the oil is dirty and "not too bright" much like the person being described.

I see that the sun doesn't shine on your field you dipstick!
_______
Dipstick
a loser, idiot "

Dave
|
Virginia, USA
October 2, 2007

Dave in Virginia writes:
Please change the color scheme! The white on black is VERY hard to read. Increase the font size as well, if you will.

Thank you!

Sandra
|
Virginia, USA
October 2, 2007

Sandra in Virginia writes:
I hate to post such a mundane first comment, but the color scheme of white text on a black background will keep me from coming back to see what is posted. Please change it. My eyes aren't 20 years old any longer, and they are only going to get worse over time.

Dan
|
District Of Columbia, USA
October 2, 2007

Dan in Washington, DC writes:
@ Kevin (Army Officer) in California -- thanks very much for your service to the United States and the US Army.

I work at the U.S. Department of State in a management role. I wanted to get back to you re your comments, although I must add that I'm doing this on my own as a private blogger and not in official, public spokesperson role for the Department.

Re: your comments about the need for a "movement to help reform or restructure the DoS to better provide support to help fledgling democracies and provide the political assistance to governments during reconstruction or construction of governments," Secretary Rice has said a lot about such requirements. For example, here is an excerpt from a speech on "transformational diplomacy" by Secretary Rice (entire speech found at http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2007/feb/80989.htm ) where she speaks to this issue:

"When it comes to working comprehensively to help societies rebuild after conflict, one group of diplomats is truly at the forefront of our efforts; that is, our Office of Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization. These individuals are not just helping our Department to plan for the next Bosnia or Liberia or Haiti. Some of them are actually deployed right now in the hottest spots overseas. In Darfur, for example, several members of our team moved in fast, they acquired a space to call their headquarters and they have been working for the past few months to help transform the conditions on the ground with everyone from Sudanese rebel groups to African Union peacekeepers to international aid workers.

"These men and women are part of our effort to create an expeditionary arm of the Department of State. It is a way of thinking and training and operating that is mostly new for us, but one that we must adopt. Eventually, we hope that members of our Department will become the vanguard of larger teams of civilian experts -- lawyers and engineers and police trainers and health workers and others. In future stabilization missions we want to be able to deploy these civilians anywhere in the world to provide expertise on critical issues like law enforcement and justice administration, urban planning and infrastructure repair. This is the idea of the Civilian Reserve Corps which President Bush mentioned in his State of the Union Address and we are eager to work with Congress to address this challenge."

Additional info on the State Department's Office of Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization can be found on the following web sites:

http://www.state.gov/s/crs/
http://www.state.gov/s/crs/rls/71038.htm

Mickey
|
North Carolina, USA
October 3, 2007

Mickey in North Carolina writes:
Great! Another Govt propaganda site... just what America needs... MORE LIES.

great job!

Joseph
|
Texas, USA
October 3, 2007

Joseph in Dallas writes:
I like this idea a lot, however the name is not good. I would suggest having a contest. Take some suggestions, choose your favorites, and then have your readers vote on it.

I would suggest a simple "Diplomacy" myself.

A p.
|
United States
October 3, 2007

Tom in U.S.A. writes:
This blog is absurd. Please, the Department that brought us the Iraq war and allows Blackwater to run free drunkenly killing civilians is going to provide unbiased news? Get real.

Corine
|
District Of Columbia, USA
October 4, 2007

Corine in Washington writes:
Hello. I am a journalist. Do you think it will be easier to get replies to inquiries if we ask questions on the blog than over the phone to State Department Officials ?
Thank you

Dipnote Blogger Frederick Jones writes:
@ Corine in Washington -- As a working journalist, your best sources for information from the State Department are the State Department Press Office and briefings by State Department Spokesman McCormack or Deputy Spokesman Casey. This is where you should acquire official information from the Department. The ideas expressed on this blog are not official comments from the Department and are attributable only to the author.

Alan
|
New York, USA
October 3, 2007

Alan in New York writes:
I agree with earlier comments - great idea, horrible name. Dipnote is a fine term within the context of diplomatic jargon - as a blog title, it sounds way too close to "dipshit." Brainstorm for a new title.

Don
|
Virginia, USA
October 3, 2007

Don in Virginia writes:
Excellent Idea. BLACK text and WHITE background. Communications 101 - Your computer folks could make the change in minutes. Don't call an inter departmental or inter agency meeting, don't bother with feasibility studies or focus groups. "Just do it".

Daniel S.
October 3, 2007

Dipnote Blogger Frederick Jones writes:
@ Comments regarding white text on the black background --

We hear you and are already working on improving the look of "Dipnote" to make it easier to read. In the meantime, here are a couple other ways to view Dipnote content:

1. Subscribe to the "Dipnote" RSS feed. This will deliver black text on a white background to your feed reader of choice. In the near future, you'll also be able to subscribe to "Dipnote" via email (with black text on a white background.)

2. To increase the font size, hold down the Alt key and tap the + (plus) sign. If you use a Mac, hold down the Command (Apple) key and tap the + (plus) sign. To reverse the magnification, use the same keyboard combination with the - (minus) key.

Thanks for the suggestions and expect to see changes soon!

James
|
Texas, USA
October 3, 2007

James in Texas writes:
Thanks for giving us your wonderful insight into your department. Most of you have been appointed with little to no experience to areas that were once sacred jobs in our country that were filled by the most intelligent and well versed citizens the country has to offer. Those were the good days. Is it not suspicious to have you speak about problems with countries throughout the world, yet I see no topics on Iraq, Pakistan, Darfur, Israel, Syria, Russia, and your next target Iran? This site is a farce until you start supplying Americans with INFORMATION. You should be ashamed!

not s.
October 3, 2007

N.S. writes:
Given that the U.S. government (and every Department within it) has lost virtually all credibility, do you really think this, aptly named, DIPNOTE blog is going to change anyone's opinion or more importantly believe the information on here anymore than we already don't? Is our tax money paying for this drivel? Bring on the propaganda! No one takes you people seriously anymore, except maybe the people dying at the hands of your policies.

Michael
|
Wisconsin, USA
October 3, 2007

Michael in Wisconsin writes:
Any chance you can brighten your text? I'm straining to read it, which means I won't spend much time trying.

Jennifer
|
Michigan, USA
October 3, 2007

Jennifer in Michigan writes:
You have GOT to be kidding!! I'd tell you what I really think of your circa '99 great blog experiment, but I'm afraid of being wiretapped and put under surveillance. Or worse. I'm sure this will be a smashing success, just like every other single thing this administration has gotten its hands on.

blader
October 3, 2007

B writes:
Will Condi be posting periodically, sharing tips on diplomacy and negotiating and what not? You guys still do that, right? She still works there, right?

Jagorev
|
New York, USA
October 3, 2007

Jagorev in New York writes:
...I CAN'T READ ANY OF THE TEXT

Jason
October 3, 2007

Jason writes:
This blog is great. It will allow the world to keep track of your pretending to engage in diplomacy with Iran while your "administration" plans to bomb them without Congressional authorization, practical justification, the support of the American people, international legal support, or even the most basic sense of right and wrong.

Thanks for keeping us safe by radicalizing half-a-million Muslim citizens. Great work!

Mike
October 3, 2007

Mike in the Middle East writes:
It's a good start, State. You're a bit late to the party, but I know how getting an old institution to do new things goes. Clearly, the name 'Dipnote' has to go - that was your first lesson: You're not inviting the world into your home, you're asking us to invite you into ours. Come down from the ivory tower and talk like human beings. Second lesson: Don't let this forum become over-produced. It needs to be credible and using it as a propaganda tool will turn people off. What's the point of a blog nobody reads or trusts? Stay real and listen to the commenters.

I moderate a gov't blog myself - It can be done honestly. Good luck.

Jeremy
|
United States
October 3, 2007

Jeremy in U.S. writes:
I was going to write something mean, but then I thought you might send someone to kill me.

So instead, I say, well..how about some more articles about China and a beautiful world? Maybe flowers, rainbows, and balloons?

Norris
|
Maryland, USA
October 3, 2007

Norris in Maryland writes:
Sean: I met Secretary Rice at the recent Climate Change Summit and she took a picture with me (see our Blog article):

http://aaenvironment.blogspot.com/2007/09/aaea-president-condoleezza-ric...

I represent an environmental group and we support the administration's climate change programs.

Drew
|
United States
October 3, 2007

Drew in U.S.A. writes:
It's too late to change the name, even though it's awful. Be timely and candid, and no one will care. Get your own approval process so you don't end up doing things half-cocked and weeks late.

Btw, I found something you missed:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darfur

Thomas W.
|
Utah, USA
October 3, 2007

Thomas in Utah writes:
I do not think that this will increase transparency or anything of the sort. By keeping control of the issues posted the State Department will keep control of where the discussion goes. However, I do think that this is an interesting project.

patrick
|
California, USA
October 3, 2007

Patrick in California writes:
Hey. Great to learn about your website. I'll be writing and tuning in.

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