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Stephen Hale

Head of Engagement, Digital Diplomacy, London

An event: bringing digital diplomacy home

Posted 25 March 2009 by Stephen Hale  

We hosted a digital diplomacy event in King Charles Street today: an invited audience, a panel of digital diplomats including John Duncan, Mark Kent, Philip Barclay, Allex Ellis, David Warren and me, and Rory Cellan Jones chairing.

Others have already written about it elsewhere - and you can watch clips on our Bringing Foreign Policy Home rolling record - so I won't describe it here.

I really like the idea of running physical events for digital champions and bloggers. Bloggers often welcome the opportunity to move from the virtual to the physical. And of course, if you invite a load of bloggers to an event, you do so in the knowledge that they are likely to blog about it soon afterwards. So the event doesn't really feel over when people leave the room.

One of the lessons we've learned during the last 2 years, is that digital engagement has to happen in almost-real-time if it's going to have any impact. But it's a lesson I really didn't need to share today. If our guests were allowed to bring mobile devices into the Foreign Office building, I'm sure the event would have been covered in actual-real-time. As it was, Rory posted an audio blog as soon as he got his phone back, and tweets and blogs appeared soon after.


I hope the people there got something out of it. Personally it was just great for me to see so many of our global bloggers in the same place, sharing their contrasting experiences. But I'm also aware that we've by no means mastered digital diplomacy, and we need to listen to and learn from others. So it was good to hear what people outside the Foreign Office network make of what we're trying to do.

Some other reflections:

Stephen Hale
25 March 2009

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