In what appears to be a move to engage with young people, Secretary of State John Kerry recently participated in an online town hall conducted by none other than Buzzfeed. Known as a popular destination for mindless (but oh so fun) drivel such as the quizzes that ask the hard hitting questions such as “Which Rock Star Should You Hook Up WIth?,” Buzzfeed certainly reaches the target audience.
As @Public_Diplomat noted, the town hall didn’t have nearly the same level of engagement as some of the more sensational pieces highlighted on the site. But was this response enough? Or perhaps a step in the right direction? Should the State Department be explicitly reaching out to young people in their online spaces or should they be collaborating with individual internet celebrities like a recent campaign by the Obama administration that worked with YouTube personas to spread the truth about Obamacare.
I would argue that the YouTube approach is more successful because young people are almost certainly more likely to watch a 3 minute video by a YouTube celebrity to whom they already subscribe than a half hour debate on foreign policy by a politician in a suit.