Hannah over at the slow move east has been blogging for a while, and has recently made the decision to make her blog public. This is the reverse of what many blogs have done in the past. A lot of folks blog when they first join the Department because they are eager to share their experiences, but too often they are quickly scared into going private, or worse, deleting their blogs all together.
I hope Hannah is the start of a new trend. As I mentioned earlier this month, it seems to me that the Department is moving towards a more open and reasonable policy towards blogs. As one DS agent said in a video we watched during my training, "I love bloggers. I blog. I just hate stupid bloggers." We all serve because we love our country, and we blog because we want to share our experiences (and at least some of us hope to use the blogs to recruit other good people). I don't think any of us wants to do anything to hurt our country, particularly as a "stupid blogger."
Below is some of what Hannah said going public means to her. You should read her entire post on Going Public, or How I Learned to Manage My Healthy Awareness of Diplomatic Security.
[...]After seeing the shaming of a new FSO last January over her public blog, I've been thinking a lot about going public with this site, and what that might mean for me.
The shakedown of FSO Rookie really struck me as emblematic of the battle between the Old School State people and the newbies in the Department. I certainly don't want to disparage the old hands, who have knowledge and experience that will take me years to accumulate. However, I think that things have changed in the Department, and those of us in the new generation don't have quite the same point of view that our superiors have on a number of FS traditions. This job is wonderful, but it's not the only thing in my life - I'm not sacrificing my sanity and my personal life to uphold the self-imposed ideal of a US diplomat. As programs like Pickering, PMF, and Rangel bring in a younger, more technologically connected, and more diverse set of FSOs, the face of our diplomatic corps is changing, as is our attitude towards the work-life balance, the way that we interact with and engage the world, and the values we hold dear.
This is a long way of saying that I'm opening up this blog as a way to stake out my position on free speech for federal employees and our right to talk about our lives in a mature, logical way online. I understand the need to stay on message and the need to be secure. Neither of those concerns should preclude me from writing generally about my job, its benefits and difficulties, and the joys and struggles of living overseas as an American with an unusual position in my host country's society. Additionally, I've become a lot more connected to the FS blog community in the past few months, and I want to be able to take part more fully in conversations on comment boards. [...]
Here's to the future, folks.