FCO Blogs: Our man on the interweb
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is blogging and YouTubing.
There are some mild semantic wobbles - Meg Munn MP says in a video, "This is my first blog in this post" (is a YouTube video a blog?) but there is evidence of a real effort to engage with the medium: A Flickr photo-set, a blog-roll with real bloggers, including ones from the other side of the political fence from the government (and Euan Semple too - hooray) But a surprising lack of the kind of blogs (such as Global Voices) dealing with the kind of issues one would have thought relevant.
Will it work? Well the challenge for any senior politician blogging was neatly expressed by the Shadow Chancellor George Osbourne MP. When I asked him if he was planning to blog, he said words to the effect that, if he wrote anything interesting on the blog it would be all over the papers the next day, on the other hand if he avoided controversy the blog would be so dull nobody would want to read it; for that reason he was not going to blog.
So can the FCO blogs actually avoid "George's dilemma"? Well the great advantage of blogs is the ability for people to communicate directly. If Foreign Ministers and FCO staff are going to engage directly with the people their policies affect that may be of great benefit. As we discovered last night the US State Department seems to think direct engagement is the best way to explain their policies to a skeptical audience
But if blogrolls are anything to go by, the Foreign Office Bloglines account could with a bit of sprucing up. What would your suggestions be for blogs the FO should be reading?