2008: DipNote's Year in Review

Posted by Luke Forgerson
December 24, 2008
DipNote Year in Review

About the Author: Luke Forgerson serves as DipNote's Managing Editor. Related Entry: U.S. Department of State and Social Media: Tell Us What You Think

As 2008 draws to a close, the DipNote team thought our readers might be interested in finding out what entries were among the blog's most popular this year. We've based the rankings on the number of comments each entry received and divided the entries into two categories: " Questions of the Week" and individual entries. We did not include any postings with the byline "DipNote Bloggers" in the individual entries category. Otherwise, all other postings were included in the count.

The most popular "Question of the Week" was: "What Role Should the International Community Play in the Russia-Georgia Conflict?" If the entries had not been divided into two categories, this question would have also been DipNote's most popular entry overall in 2008. The topic so energized our readers that we made the unprecedented decision to allow the entry to serve as "Question of the Week" for two consecutive weeks. Our readers continued to discuss the issue on Assistant Secretary Daniel Fried's subsequent blog entry about Secretary Rice's negotiations in Georgia and DipNote's posting of his testimony on U.S.-Russia relations in the aftermath of the crisis.

The next four most popular "Questions of the Week" tracked closely with the year's other leading international news stories. In rank order, these entries included postings on Israel-Palestine, the Beijing Olympics, North Korea, and missile defense.

The most popular individual entry of the year was "U.S. Department of State and Social Media: Tell Us What You Think" by DipNote's Editor-in-Chief Heath Kern Gibson. I find this particularly encouraging, because it demonstrates that you -- our readers -- are as excited about our efforts as we are. It also gives me an excuse to plug these efforts: follow DipNote on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook and participate in Spokesman Sean McCormack's Briefing 2.0 on the State Department's YouTube Channel.

The second most popular individual entry was "Men and Women for Others" by Tara Foley, a young diplomat who generously shared about the beginnings of her State Department career. Tara used one of her alma mater's mottos to serve as the entry's title. I believe it is also describes the underlying attitude of many who enter the State Department's Foreign and Civil Services.

Nowhere may that mindset be more apparent than in the efforts of our colleagues who work to end modern-day slavery. Ambassador Mark Lagon wrote several entries about leveraging diplomacy to combat human trafficking. His posting on "Prostitution: To Legalize or Not" was the year's third most popular individual entry and generated quite a debate among our readers.

John Matel, the author of the year's fourth and fifth most popular individual entries, has been no stranger to spirited discussions on the blog. In "What They Said Couldn't Be Done" and "Making the Most of the Surge in Iraq," John wrote about his experiences as Team Leader of the Al Asad Embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team (ePRT) in Iraq. Much to his credit, John did not shy away from responding to the comments that his postings elicited.

As I tallied DipNote's 2008 entries, I was consistently impressed with the informed and heartfelt comments that you, our readers, have posted. I was also reminded of how grateful I am to our Department contributors -- for the work they do and for taking the time to share it with us. Next week, I'll highlight some of the entries that I personally found memorable. In the meantime, the DipNote team thanks our readers and contributors for a successful year and wishes all of you a very happy and healthy holiday season.

Editor’s Note: Since we posted our year in review, the December 29th "Question of the Week" -- What Means Are Readily Available To Resume a Path Toward Israeli-Palestinian Peace? -- has surpassed other entries to become the year’s third most popular posting in the category.

Comments

Comments

Chris
|
Washington, USA
December 24, 2008

Chris in Washington writes:

Was reading your post at http://blogs.state.gov/index.php/entries/state_department_social_media/ with interest as it's great to see government taking an interest in hearing back from the public in this way. I would have posted on that thread but it's closed to comments.

Just wanted to note (as a suggestion) that you may want to make sure that even when posts are closed - that the links in the top right to the media you can be found on are live links. :) Kind of ironic given the post.

It's related to the year in review as (to me anyways) this kind of interaction is big news. :)

Thanks!

DipNote
|
District Of Columbia, USA
December 24, 2008

DipNote Bloggers write:

@ Chris in Washington -- Excellent point Chris! The social media entry was posted back in July and was archived. We went ahead and added a link to the piece from this entry and opened it back up for comments.

Ron
|
New York, USA
December 28, 2008

Ron in New York writes:

2008...A YEAR THAT WILL LIVE IN INFAMY

Been on this blog since inception. Much has been state-spin and self-promotional Afghan, Iraq,Darfur, Zimbabwe, Bosnia, Palestine all still deepening with conflict, disease, poverty USG has fomented economic, political and constitutional dissolution; leading to economic and diplomatic turmoil with domestic and global melt-downs...attacks on US Missions.. USG attacks on UN....attack on UN Missions....

Stop Global Crisis Induction

End Corruption

Have a Peaceful New Year

Re-Define Success

Donald
|
Virginia, USA
December 28, 2008

Donald in Virginia writes:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Years everyone around the world!

Peace and goodwill for mankind and women!

Happy birthday Jesus!

A great way to compile the year with all the cool titles and blogs... The blog proves one point, we all can learn something from everyone and we might not always have to agree but it's a fantastic way to get your views across. We all come from different walks of life, experienced unique types of things in life and we all make good contributions that might change or have an effect on the present and future!

Thank-you to all those who make this possible and be blessed with your dreams to come true! Signed the secret name of JAH.

Ron
|
New York, USA
December 28, 2008

Ron in New York writes:

DipNote, Katrina, Helmand, Abu Ghraib, Faluja, Dafur Sudan Meltdown, Mumbai, Happy New Year(s).

Jennifer
|
New York, USA
December 28, 2008

Jennifer in New York writes:

My favorite was men and women for others by Tara Foley!

John
|
Greece
December 29, 2008

John in Greece writes:

T. S. Eliot:

"For last year's words belong to last year's language and next year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning."

So, I wish to DipNote team, SD staff and all contributors from U.S.A. and all over the world: A HAPPY NEW BEGINNING FOR AN EVEN MORE CREATIVE DipNote YEAR!

P.S.: My special wishes for a great, happy new year to Eric in NM.

joe
|
Tennessee, USA
December 29, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

An old Sicilian proverb:

"In time names may change, the scenery may change, things get bigger and some things get smaller; but, until such time as one enemy shakes hands with another and there is peace, everything remains the same."

Happy New year to all and may we continue to shake hands and hold out the olive branch first.....

John
|
Greece
December 29, 2008

John in Greece writes:

Benjamin Franklin:

Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each New Year find you a better man."

P.S.: My special wishes for a great, happy new year to Joe in TN.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
December 30, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ John in Greece -- Thanks John, same to you.

The invitation to think exists in continuim.

Susan
|
Florida, USA
January 2, 2009

Susan in Florida writes:

A special thank you to the State Department Dipnote staff for giving us the opportunity to voice our thoughts and opinions. The postings have been informative and very educational. I have learned a great deal about our diplomatic policies and about the brave work of the diplomats themselves. Wishing you all a safe and productive new year. And to all my fellow bloggers, wishing you a happy and peaceful 2009.

Dan
|
District Of Columbia, USA
January 9, 2009

Dan in Washington, DC writes:

Belated Happy New Year to all ...

Re quotes for the New Year having to do with foreign policy, here is one from former Secretary of State Dean Acheson (the "great man of U.S. diplomacy," according to late U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan):

"The simple truth is that perseverance in good policies is the only avenue to success ..."

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