DipNote Turns One Today

September 25, 2008
Hands Over Mouse and Keyboard

About the Author: Heath Kern Gibson is the Editor-in-Chief of DipNote.

It was one year ago today that the DipNote team sat at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel during the UN General Assembly and turned on the switch to launch this blog. Two million page views, 4,126 comments and 2,801 RSS feeds later, DipNote turns one year old.

With Dan Schaub and Eric Jones manning the operation from Washington, Jeff Jackson, DipNote’s senior technology advisor, and I sat in a cramped hotel room and watched as DipNote came to life on the Internet. We tested its applications, saw that all worked, and were thrilled there were no apparent glitches. At that point, we decided to go down to the hotel bar and celebrate our launch.

The bar was dark, and at 5:30pm, quite empty. As we sat and strategized about how to make this blog succeed, I said we had to have one big “get” -- a splashy entry from a well known person to put the blog on the map. Four people walked in and Jeff became distracted.

“Is that? No. I thought that woman was Angelina Jolie,” he said.

I turned around; the face was clearly that of a movie star.

“Jeff, that is Angelina Jolie. I have to get her to do an interview for the blog.”

Jolie had spent the past several years earning her foreign policy credentials by taking various trips around the world promoting humanitarian causes. I was certain she would jump at the chance to participate in a bona fide foreign policy venue. I couldn’t help myself: what did I have to lose? I walked over to Jolie, introduced myself and made my request. She lit up like a Christmas tree when I told her I was from the United States Department of State, but turned me down for an interview. To be fair to Jolie, she couldn’t have been any more gracious considering this intruder was accosting her as she tried to have a drink with some friends.

I was wrong about the big “get.” Within weeks of launch, I realized I had underestimated you, the public. Our readers did not need a movie star to make this blog interesting. In fact, you have showed us time and time again you want smart and informative policy information and dialogue. A year later, it has become such a pleasure to watch as you all take over the blog. While we provide the posts, the back and forth debate gives each post a far more interesting and informative context. I firmly believe a blog’s greatest service is in getting disparate voices from varied geographical regions together in a way that would have been impossible prior to the advent of blogs. A recent posting on the UN had bloggers from Sudan, the United States, the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, and Pakistan posting responses. Global issues demand global dialogue, and it is the breakdown of geographical boundaries in the virtual world that will ultimately lead to greater understanding among people from different countries.

The staff and founders of DipNote -- Sean McCormack, Heath Kern Gibson, Jeff Jackson, Dan Schaub, Eric Jones, Luke Forgerson and Tamika Johnson -- thank you for making this year a success.

Comments

Comments

John
|
Greece
September 25, 2008

John in Greece writes:

1 year?

it seems to me like a week...

...Because, it's wonderful!!!

Thank you guys for giving us this opportunity!

Syrian P.
|
Syria
September 25, 2008

SNP in Syria writes:

Happy first for Dipnote. Thank you for this blog and the great posts. You have presented America's better side to the world, now you can be proud of doing something positive for your country. Maybe in the next Administration you will move up in your career, while others will go down onto teaching at over priced universities a course on how to be a total failure. Well, let's stick to post topic. Congrats

Joe
|
Tennessee, USA
September 25, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

Happy birthday!

God willing, many, many many more for all of us...

Joe
|
United States
September 26, 2008

Joe in U.S.A writes:

You guys keeping up with this?

Russian Oil Reserve Could Affect Prices
26 September 2008
By Anatoly Medetsky / Staff Writer
Russia will work to influence global oil prices, Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said Thursday.

Oil prices now depend on such conditions as production levels in the members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, financial speculation and U.S. oil reserves, he said.

"We hold such a significant position in the high society of world oil that a Russian factor should appear and maybe not a single one," Shmatko told reporters in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, where he was accompanying President Dmitry Medvedev on a tour of the Far East. "We didn't work on this before. We want to formulate these approaches."

Russia currently accounts for 12.3 percent of the world's oil output, making it the biggest producer after Saudi Arabia.

The decision to seek leverage over prices, Shmatko said, was prompted by oil prices' "rollercoaster ride" in the past few months, when they reached an all-time record in July, lost one-third of their value in the following weeks and began climbing again recently.

Chavez Arrives to $1Bln Welcome
By Nikolaus von Twickel / Staff Writer
The Kremlin had a warm welcome waiting for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Thursday, in the form of a $1 billion loan for arms purchases for the Latin American leader who has been fiercely critical of the United States and its leaders.

Jeffrey
|
United States
September 26, 2008

Jeffrey in U.S.A. writes:

Happy birthday from your friends at EPA's Greenversations blog! I think we're still the only two federal group blogs really open to posts from our whole organizations. Here's to many more successful years. :)

Susan
|
Florida, USA
September 26, 2008

Susan in Florida writes:

Congratulations! You have done an outstanding job this year. Thank you for giving all of us, "out here", a voice. Please continue --as we need you!

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
September 26, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Good job folks! And I include my felow contributors in this.

It's been an interesting debate.

I got a chuckle from the reaction to a movie star walking in the room. Having worked in recording studios with the likes of James Taylor, Gene Hackman and others I can certainly relate. But remember, they put on their shoes the same way the rest of us do, and are basicly just regular folks.

If I had a birthday wish, it would be to see more interactiveness by the authors of threads, and high level participation by former officials speaking in their capacity as private citizens through comment and debate.

IE: Imagine a discussion between Joe in Tenn. and Gorbachev, or Tony Blair and SNP, or between me and former Sec. of State Allbright...(chuckle).

Now that would definately put "Dipnote" on the map, and the more exposure you get, the more effective dipnote will be as an engine of ideas.

If you have the opportunity to elevate the conversation to that level, by all means do so.

Jonathan
|
Texas, USA
September 26, 2008

Jonathan in Texas writes:

This has to be the best way for the American people to express their concerns and views. Great idea and great job on starting and keeping this blog going. I have learned so much from reading blogs and I have expressed many concerns.

Happy Birthday DipNote!!!!!!!!!!

joe
|
Tennessee, USA
September 27, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

@ Eric, I did try to respond to your post.

Tell the Col. OWL missions.

Be well

joe

Molly
|
District Of Columbia, USA
September 27, 2008

Molly in Washington, DC writes:

Congratulations! I look forward to seeing the blog grow and develop in the coming years.

joe
|
Tennessee, USA
September 27, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

By the way Eric...met two of the three.

Anna
|
District Of Columbia, USA
September 29, 2008

Anna in Washington, DC writes:

Happy First, DipNote! When I think many Americans are rightly concerned about the state of their government, this blog represents what is best about it. Thanks for informing us what the government is doing and giving the people a voice. The posts are interesting, so are the comments, and I love the photos. Congratulations on your first year, and here's to many more!

Louisa
|
District Of Columbia, USA
October 2, 2008

Louisa in Washington writes:

Congratulations on managing a public blog for one year!

Now I understand why there's a black background -- Dipnote was born in a bar. Seriously, though, back in the day -- when we were first designing websites in the early 1990's -- received wisdom was black is not/not the best background. Sends the wrong visual message and visitors tend to need eye drops to read it.

John
|
Greece
October 3, 2008

John in Greece writes:

I will Create a video short that completes the phrase "Democracy is..." http://www.videochallenge.america.gov/

But, Where is Zharkov? Where is my "actor"?

No wishes Z? I imagine that all this time you were supposing that this "project" (DipNote) won't last?

Honestly, I feel that we would love to have you here for the next 400 years to come. Sometimes (almost always) we may disagree, but I prefer you writing here instead of Pravda.

At least, here, you have a democratic platform to post things and receive several answers back -- DEMOCRATICALLY!

Note: this submission of mine (as long as I find Z) will be a "stolen" idea from a fellow contributor that suggested us in the Blog to ?circulate -- (Z's Best)!

John
|
Greece
October 4, 2008

John in Greece writes:

@ Louisa in Washington -- Our Blog is Black & White!(chuckle) I mean pure colors! no matter if you use CMYK, or RGB!

Louisa, although this conversation is already done a couple of times through this year of the Blog's history, let me offer some more "paint" thoughts to our fellow contributors. Of course, it's everyone's FREE decision what he/she likes or not.

First of all, I am not so sure if YOU LIKE THE BACKGROUND OR NOT.

Anyway. I think that you say that it's "old fashioned"? or progressive? ("when we were first designing websites in the early 1990's")

Not enough hospitable? (Sends the wrong visual message and visitors tend to need eye drops to read it.)

And the "worst": "DipNote was born in a bar"?

According to my opinion Louisa, BIG IDEAS can be born anywhere. Either in a bar, or a meeting room.

I really loved reading that: "With Dan Schaub and Eric Jones manning the operation from Washington, Jeff Jackson, DipNote's senior technology advisor, and I sat in a cramped hotel room and watched as DipNote came to life on the Internet. We tested its applications, saw that all worked, and were thrilled there were no apparent glitches. AT THAT POINT, we decided to go down to the hotel bar and celebrate our launch".

P.S. I really do not understand if you like it (the background and the architecture of the Blog), or not. I look forward to read your new post on these "questions". Welcome here, let's make it better. Best Regards!

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
October 4, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

John wrote:

""And the "worst": "DipNote was born in a bar"?""

I suppose you might call it a "spiritual" undertaking eh, (chuckle)??

See what happens when under the table and dreaming?

All in a day's work no less...

And I wouldn't dare question the method of inspiration involved anyway. Someone might start singing and get the office of Human Rights and Labor involved....

LOL!

John
|
Greece
October 5, 2008

John in Greece writes:

@ Eric in New Mexico -- I meant..."the "worst" of what Louisa probably implies"...

It's not bad to go down to the hotel bar and celebrate the launch of something Great when it's done!

P.S. I am not sure if I got your point. Maybe I am wrong...

Louisa
|
District Of Columbia, USA
October 7, 2008

Louisa in Washington writes:

I love the fact that DipNote was born in a bar. YAY! Synergy=GreatIdeas+SmartPeople+RelaxedMind.

I don't think the black and minimal white is progressive or old fashioned. It's just difficult to read. Like looking into a cave, tunnel, basement, which may be what it is meant to suggest. Yep, as an artist, I know black is ALL color, but web-AllBlack is different than a Rothko painting and way less lively than the All Blacks.

At least put in some design features -- more white borders around the tunnel, or color bands somewhere.

Surely the brains behind DipNote have consulted a few designers along the way? No??? Why not?

Whatever.... It's good that DipNote is.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
October 8, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

What Louisa said.... "Synergy=GreatIdeas+SmartPeople+RelaxedMind."

As I said, I wouldn't dare question the method of inspiration, or the circumstance which led to the sober assesment: "We can do this, so long as we remember our joy."

So folks, see how you are? Is what it is. And fine by me.

@ John in Greece, pardon my tounge-in-cheek American coloquialisms and obscure references to posts gone by, including one where you were commenting on your taste in "spirits" , and a brief but humorous conversation w/ Sean about the merits of his singing ability and the repercussions of his partaking in a ministerial level talent show....(chuckle).

"Under the table and dreaming" isn't just the title of and album by the Dave Mathews band....It's a direct physical manifestation of what happens when when one falls into the acute stage of a well inibriated food coma and can no longer maintain a sitting posture. Gradually sliding off one's seat under the bar and assuming a fetal position around the legs of a bar stool, so folks can convieniantly give you a swift kick to motivate 'em up 'round "last call" for an epiphany and one for the road.

(Actual definition of this state of conciousness is a great "what if?" and may vary according to local pub rules.)

Snoring is generally disavowed as beyond hope, but if the subject has one eye propped open, its a sure sign they're aware of their surroundings but cannot move or communicate verbally on a temporary basis.

The inspiration derived from such a "on the ground" perspective is the subject of myth and legend.

I'm not suggesting we create an urban myth around dipnote's creation, but it is an amusing "conspiracy theory".

Look, when they decide to do a TV sitcom ("Dipnote" a-la "Westwing" meets SNL), folks will know it's become an institution, and public diplomacy will probably never be the same....(chuckle).

Attitude is everything.

Dipnote should sponsor a diplomatic event perhaps to get a little more name recongnition among foreign policy blogs.

You have all these embassies in DC, and The President hosts T-ball on the Whitehouse lawn...

I'm thinking winter sports here, and host a ministerial snowball fight just for grins and giggles to relieve international tensions.

Of couse it would be logical to bill the event in the media as "WW3"....(sic). C-span coverage...UN referees to officiate the game, if they dare...

Could be a good time had by all.

.

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