The notion of tech innovation and Foggy Bottom might seem like two entirely different spheres–but thanks to @AlecJRoss the latest generation of ambassadors and foreign policy implementers are more aware of how social media, internet freedom and online tools play an important role in 21st century diplomacy.
Ross always rejected the idea that innovation was about specific tools such as Twitter or Facebook. He would often say “There’s no such thing as a Twitter revolution,” insisting that social media is simply a vehicle revolutionaries can use to organize and spread their ideas and plans.
“It’s really about how do you conduct diplomacy beyond formal interactions between nation states,” he told The Cable.
And because diplomacy is occurring in new and interesting ways on a person-to-person and person-to-group level across social networks Ross made the contribution to integrate understanding of the power of social media across the organization. Josh Rogin quotes Ross in The Cable: “I don’t want this to be viewed as another slice of the pie, but rather a part of every diplomat’s work. I want 21st-century statecraft to just be ‘statecraft.'”
These interviews on big think and Brookings, respectively, give you a little more info on the power of social media in the recent US elections as well as the strategy behind integrating it into eDiplomacy. And this was the first story (NYT Magazine) I recall about him that gives you a better insight into his career path from T4A to State’s Policy Planning Staff.