Thursday 19 Jul 2018 | 10:26 | SYDNEY
Thursday 19 Jul 2018 | 10:26 | SYDNEY

Our Social Media Minister


Andrew Carr


23 May 2011 10:59

One of the big themes on the blog this year has been the importance of a strong social media presence for DFAT and the Australian Government. The benefits are many and have already been covered at length. So this post is instead to note the increasing use of social media, especially Facebook and Twitter, by the Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd.

In recent weeks we've seen Rudd post videos from New York and daily updates on his trip to Norway and China, including not just links to speeches but also a wide range of photos (at a quicker rate than Gillard's own site) and even musings such as:

Yesterday, driving into Guangzhou and past the strikingly beautiful new Opera House, I was reminded of how much China has changed since I first came here. At that time, just as China's economic reform and open door policies of 1978 were starting to take effect, it was unthinkable that a foreign company could play a part in designing such an important and cutting-edge building in China.

There's still much more to be done. It wasn't till 29 March 2011 that DFAT jumped onto Twitter, and the Department still largely uses it as a vehicle for press releases rather than communication. Likewise, the websites of many embassies (not least the Australian embassy in Beijing) have a last-century feel to them. 

But these efforts to use social media, and a willingness to adapt to the norms and conventions of new media, are a very welcome trend.

Photo, of Rudd on the flight from China to Australia overnight, courtesy of his Facebook profile.

Update: It seems the 'musing' above is actually the opening line of a recent speech by Rudd. Apologies.