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Saturday, June 04, 2011

Tools for 21st Century Diplomats

Stephano Baldi, Counsellor at the Permanent Representation of Italy to the European Union, has been active in using new Web and eMedia since the Web 2.0 wave gained strength over the past 10 years.
Stephano showed this, his basic  e-toolbox.

The tool-kit contains basic, easy to use and manage tools like Wikipedia and Doodle (the free online meeting planner). It also includes tools which, although easy to use, require a little more understanding about how the modern web  works.

RSS – the blood circulation system of web 2.0

Stephano himself uses Netvibes to manage the flood of information washing over already busy people in this era of User Generated Content, Citizen Journalism and  constant connections. It works in the same way as other aggregation applications such as iGoogle. The key to using Netvibes is understanding that the majority of news and information sites provide a service called RSS, sometimes taken to mean Really Simple Syndication (explained well in this video from the excellent commoncraft site. This service sends updates of new items added to the site to other websites registered to receive these updates. It is one of the key ways that news and information circulates across the web and can be used by individuals to bring together news and services they want to track into a tool like netvibes. The system is straightforward to use, and participants learnt how to set up a netvibes sit in one of the practical sessions at the conference.
However, Stephano is interested in keeping up to date with new technology and has put the time to learning how to integrate them into his daily workflow. But the discussion surfaced one of the key questions from the workshop:21st Century diplomats can be more efficient and effective through using these tools but it takes time and training to appropriate them, even for those who are interested. What strategies can be used to demonstrate how these tools ultimately save time?

(Cross-posted from the Diplomacy Foundation website. We support Diplo communication)

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