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.