Kristin L. Kneedler serves as Assistant Information Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand.
Recently, Embassy Bangkok introduced the new U.S. Ambassador to Thailand Kristie Kenney, using social media as the vehicle. With the help of the Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP), Ambassador Kenney filmed two short introductory videos -- the first discussing her excitement about coming to Thailand and the second highlighting her love of Thai food.
The first video, “Greetings from Ambassador Kristie Kenney,” was posted on YouTube and links to the video were posted on the Embassy's Facebook page. Within hours, the video received several hundred views, and within a couple of days, several dozen bloggers picked up the video and attracted the attention of local Thai media. The Ambassador's welcome message was broadcast over Thai television and radio, and newspapers also wrote about her message, with cartoonists even joining in on the fun. Ambassador Kenney quickly picked up another thousand followers on Twitter and the Embassy Facebook page received dozens of “Welcome Madame Ambassador!!” messages.
To continue the positive anticipation of the Ambassador's arrival, the Embassy posted the second video, “Ambassador Kristie Kenney Loves Thai Food." To amplify the message, the Embassy launched a Facebook contest asking the people of Thailand to post their favorite Thai dishes or recipes. The person whose posting received the most "LIKES" will meet Ambassador Kenney in person over a Thai meal at a local restaurant. Once again, the Embassy's Facebook page lit up with dozens of entries further welcoming the Ambassador and sharing their favorite dishes.
Overall, the social media introduction has been very well received, creating goodwill, and effectively portraying Ambassador Kenney's enthusiasm for her assignment to Thailand and paving the way for enhanced outreach. Ambassador Kenney and the Embassy Bangkok Public Affairs staff plan on making more video messages throughout her tenure in Thailand and will continue to use social media to reach out to the Thai and American publics.
To learn more about Ambassador Kenney and her time in Thailand, visit her blog, "It's me, Kristie."