Saturday 24 Oct 2020 | 23:02 | SYDNEY
Saturday 24 Oct 2020 | 23:02 | SYDNEY

DFAT\ e-diplomacy goes to parliament


Fergus Hanson


8 March 2011 09:36

Yesterday, the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade announced a new review. The review itself is into DFAT's annual reports, but the Chair, Michael Danby, also took the opportunity to foreshadow his intention to investigate DFAT's uptake of e-diplomacy, with this comment:

How well is DFAT using various new media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to communicate with Australians living and travelling overseas'

The answer, one would have to assume, is not going to be great for DFAT. But while these tools would certainly be helpful for communicating with Australians overseas, more specialised platforms are also worth a look.

Google's Person Finder is a good example. It offers a simple way for people to track down friends and family after natural disasters, that also conveniently bypasses all the privacy red tape that an organisation like DFAT needs to comply with. It was developed for the Haiti disaster and has some 11,500 entries for the Christchurch earthquake. 

Person Finder is also a good example of the way foreign ministries need to broaden their range of partnerships. It was developed by Google in conjunction with the State Department. 

Follow Fergus on Twitter @FergusHanson. Photo by Flickr user alexkess