About the Author: Luke Forgerson serves as the DipNote blog Managing Editor.
As we approach the end of December, I find myself looking back at the year that was. I know it sounds cliché, but I can hardly believe how quickly this year has passed. I feel as if just yesterday, standing among the crowd on the National Mall, my friends and I observed President Obama take the oath of office, a historic moment watched by individuals around the world.
A few days later, I joined colleagues in greeting Hillary Rodham Clinton upon her arrival to the State Department in Washington, DC as the 67th U.S. Secretary of State. Secretary Clinton soon gathered employees together for a town hall meeting where she said, “There is no doubt in my mind that we have barely scratched the surface as to what we can use to communicate with people around the world, and in fact, to use them [new technologies] as tools ...to further our own work and to be smart about it….”
My colleagues and I were encouraged by the Secretary’s remarks and soon watched her words turned into action. Secretary Clinton invited Americans to text a $5 contribution that helped the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) provide assistance to people affected by the humanitarian crisis in Pakistan and announced U.S. support for Humari Awaz (“Our Voice”), the first free Pakistani mobile phone-based social network. She responded to questions from the public through Text the Secretary and participated in webcasts and web chats during her travels. She became the first U.S. Secretary of State to blog when she contributed an entry to DipNote and has focused on new media to amplify the Department’s efforts around the globe.
I am proud that DipNote is an essential ingredient of 21st century statecraft. More than ever, DipNote has become a means to educate, listen, learn and engage. DipNote passed 5 million page views in April and is on course to top 12 million by the end of the year. DipNote turned two years old in September and December ushered in a blog redesign, including the launch of three new channels on the blog: Afghanistan-Pakistan, Global Women’s Issues and Sudan.
DipNote could not have achieved what it has to date, and what we expect it to achieve in the future, without the ongoing support from State Department colleagues. Their work on a broad range of issues – from human rights to nonproliferation, climate change to food security– inspires me. I am always grateful to State Department colleagues who share their work with DipNote’s readers.
I also appreciate the support of our readers, who consistently impress me with their level of engagement in foreign affairs and their depth of contributions to DipNote’s dialogue. We could not have reached nearly 12 million page views without you, the DipNote community. I am eager to hear what entries you found most memorable over the last year and what you wish to see appear on DipNote in 2010.
On behalf of everyone at DipNote – Katie Dowd, David Helfenbein, Jeff Jackson, Tamika Johnson, Eric Jones, Daniel Schaub, and all of the DipNote bloggers – I wish you a joyous holiday season and all the best in the New Year.