Monday, March 1, 2010

Roaming Roemer: US Ambassador to India Joins Blogosphere

In my February 9 post on US Ambassadors: The Brave New World of Blogging I mentioned our US Ambassador to India, Tim Roemer as one of the three ambassadors without blogs but who still managed to run a pretty savvy media operation in their countries of assignment.

Ambassador Roemer actually started his blog, Roaming Roamer on February 5th with a photo. The next few entries were more like micro-blog entries; longer than Twitter’s 140 characters but shorter than what you would normally expect in a blog. But short or long, Ambassador Roemer has officially joined the blogosphere with Roaming Roemer. If he actually writes what he does and where he goes, I’m sure he’d have a lot of material; except that I can’t imagine where he’d get all the energy to actually write.  See his travel map here. See his pretty hectic events here.  It looks like he is also pretty busy with mission visitors including White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Senator John Kerry, SRAP Richard Holbrooke, FBI’s Robert Mueller, U.S. Energy Secretary Dr. Steven Chu and many others.

I reposted a sample of his recent posts below. I’m actually heartened that he wrote about Consular team appreciation last week. You don’t hear that often enough from chiefs of mission. COM sightings in consular sections are also considered quite rare in some places.         

February 25th, 2010
Today I was asked to participate in a country-wide Digital Video Conference with our consulates and officers working in consular operations on a Leadership Skills Workshop. I expressed my gratitude to them for all of their successful work serving as the “face” to our outreach efforts everyday in India on visas and American Citizen Services. They were concentrating on improving their technical skills and communicating with the “next generation” in this young democracy. I reflected later in the day how fortunate I am to have all the highly motivated and deeply committed staff at our embassy and in all our consulates.

February 24th, 2010
We hosted a reception at Roosevelt House for Sulabh International, an organization in Delhi that builds water efficient technology for toilets, improves sanitation and hygiene, and provides opportunities for “untouchables” to get a better education. In the Gandhiji tradition, Dr. Pathak, the founder, is working to remove the legal and social barriers to the caste system for the “scavengers”. These lower caste dalits are told from birth that they must clean toilets and human waste, and have no other choices in life. Sulabh’s guiding philosophy, like America’s, teaches that everyone is equal and gives their employees the tools to pursue other vocations and follow their dreams. This is an amazing story of hope, change, and progress.

February 18th, 2010
US Embassy India Photo
I’m cooking over a traditional chulha and can feel and taste the smoke stinging in my eyes and throat. Moving over to the new technology, the Envirofit cookstove, the steam coming off the rice is the only visible emission! There is a huge difference for health and the impact on the person doing the cooking with the green technology. I decided to purchase two cookstoves on the spot!

Check out Roaming Roemer here.  Also check out the photo gallery here; lots of interesting snaps of the ambo in leis, in different head gears, parasailing, riding a rickshaw, holding a baby, etc.  What energy!   

Of course, other ambassadors may have perfectly comparable hectic events and travels but if we cannot see them online, how are we to know about them? 

Note that US Mission India is not in the Web 2.0 fold. It is not on Flickr, Twitter, YouTube or Facebook (only the American Center and Library in New Delhi is on Facebook). And yet, it is still able to inform us what the embassy is doing and saying. I don’t know who is actually doing the updating of the embassy’s website, but he/she/they deserve a shout out for being always current, and timely. Keep it up folks!      


Oops, I stand corrected – US Embassy in India is not on Facebook, Twitter, or Flickr. It has a YouTube channel but there is no visible link from the embassy website to YouTube, so I missed that altogether.

US Consulate General Chennai carries the Ambassador’s blog, is on Facebook with 226 fans (thanks Jill!) and has a link to US Embassy Delhi’s YouTube channel (that’s how I found out that Embassy New Delhi is actually on YouTube).     

US Consulates General in Mumbai, Hyderabad and Kolkata all have visual links to the US Embassy’s Ambassador Roemer in Action page but otherwise have no other official social media presence.  



Jill said...

Good for him! I don't know much about the man, but my husband says that he's a pretty darn good guy. A real family man.

And while we may be the ugly step-child of US Mission India, the US Consulate in Chennai recently started a Facebook page. Nothing fancy, but it's there! Now if we could get onto Twitter...

diplopundit said...

Chennai is the ugly-step child? But who's the fairest of them all? Thanks for the tip on Chennai's Facebook page, Jill! I just updated my original post with additional links.

Embassy said...

Kudos to you too for this wonderful blog! And your write-up about the Ambassador's blog does good for Roaming Roemer as it attracts attention in the blogosphere. Wanted to update you that the U.S. Embassy-New Delhi site now has social networking links on the home page - to the Ambassador's blog, Facebook, twitter, and YouTube. Also, the American Center in Mumbai is on Facebook and twitter and you can find the U.S. consulates in Chennai and Hyderabad on Facebook. Keep looking for more developments as the U.S. Mission to India progresses with social media and we will keep looking for your suggestions. Regards, Web Manager.