Friday, November 14, 2008

Briefing 2.0

To add on to my earlier Democracy 2.0 post, it turns out the U.S. State Department is already doing Briefing 2.0, allowing anyone to submit video questions via YouTube:

Good afternoon, everybody. I wanted to welcome you to the first edition of Briefing 2.0. Let me first start off by thanking everybody who submitted questions to us, who placed some trust in us, and the fact that we’re going to try to answer your questions. So here we are. We’re going to answer your questions.

I want to respond to one thing up front. In some of the write-ups about this, kind of in the run-up to this briefing, a couple folks remarked on, in my video I said, you know, this is going to be fun. And they said, well, you know, it’s foreign policy; there’s nothing fun about foreign policy. And I just wanted to explain what I meant.

It’s fun for me because this is part of something I started three years ago when I first came in here, and I have a great team that’s been working with me. And it’s one of the things that we want to do is use technology and its applications to try to change the way the State Department communicates, not only with the press but also with the public. And this is an opportunity for the public to directly ask me questions, and maybe somewhere on down the line other people questions, and for you to get answers back.

And I think this is part of a general trend in the way that government and its publics communicate with one another, and it’s going to change over time. I think, inevitably, there has to be more interaction. There can’t be all this change and ferment going on outside the walls of government, and then government kind of continuing to operate as it has for the past 200 years. So that has to change. It’ll change eventually, and hopefully this is one small part of that change.

I’ve brought in a piece of paper. I just want you to know, all it has is the names and the locations of the people asking questions. I don’t know what the questions are, so I’m going to see them for the first time along with you.

Here's the intro video from the U.S. Department of State's YouTube Channel:

And here's the first briefing:

Very, very interesting. They also have a blog.

Brings up a few questions:
  1. Social Studies Teachers: Don't you think this gives you some ideas for some assignments? Shouldn't you have your students submitting questions to the State Department?

  2. District Internet Filter Czars: If you're blocking YouTube, isn't this yet another argument why, if you don't unblock it altogether, you at least need teacher overrides for the filter?


  1. Great stuff - as a social studies teacher and one who is campaigning against filters on Youtube.

    Keep up the good work.

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  3. Excellent post and an ironclad point made on filtering YouTube.

    Just over a year ago, my district had the 'tube blocked. However, one thing to the credit of the very non-instructional heart of our network team, is that they are quite open and liberal compared to most districts.

    A simple question was asked about a year ago. I got a phone call that asked if I had found valuable educational use of YouTube in the past. I told them that not only had I found it valuable, that I was currently downloading the flash video to use in my classroom when needed. (very teacher-sided and 1.0-ish mind you)

    I also suggested that what I was doing with Safari at the time in order to nab the video clips was not within the reach of more than 1% of our district staff without some training. Not to mention the fact that the added time required would likely squelch any real use of the site by most teachers.

    It was unblocked that week.

    While we do block Facebook and MySpace, we do NOT block hardly any other interactive web entities. We even allow Ning. That happened as a simple request to unblock enough to allow the classroom site I had set up at

    That afternoon, in a school system of 24 schools, the entirety of Ning was unblocked and my school's network at was born.

    Personally, I LOVE the openness we currently embrace. However, it is largely open in lieu or a comprehensive policy on such matters. Oh well... next hill to climb, huh?

    This post is getting slingshotted(?) directly to my social studies folks. Thanks!