Obviously, I deal with the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. quite a bit. Sometimes it’s for fun like lunching at its *fabulous* cafeteria with some of my girlfriends who work there or attending July 14th celebrations and other cultural events like Yannick Noah concerts or la fête de la musique. Other times, it’s for more serious occasions like voting in my presidential elections. And of course, there are the downright unpleasant reasons to go to the French Embassy (well, any embassy I’m sure): dealing with bureaucracy while trying to register my marriage to an American citizen or finally getting a new passport.
As much as I love this little French enclave in the heart of Georgetown, I’ve never been a fan of the way the Embassy communicates with me, especially in the digital world. Le Quai d’Orsay, the French equivalent of the US’s State Department, is one of the most advanced ministries of foreign affairs in the world when it comes to the digital diplomacy space. @Francediplo (in French) and @Francediplo_EN (in English) are great channels and our Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, has a very advanced social media presence, using facebook, twitter and even instragram very effectively. So I’d like to think it’s only a matter of time until it trickle down to the French Embassy here…
To be fair, the French Embassy in the United States is on social media. You can like both the Embassy and its cultural arm, La Maison Francaise, on facebook. You can follow both of them on twitter too: @Franceintheus and @Houseoffrancedc, though La Maison Francaise’s twitter account just pushes their events without any attempt at engaging its audience. Hopefully, it’s only a matter of time before the Embassy gets a more sophisticated social media presence that both engages it diverse audiences of Frenchies and Amerloques, promotes French culture in the United States and advocates for our foreign policy positions. Until then, it at least looks like they’re trying and this little “welcome to the Embassy of France in Washington D.C.” you tube video is a step in the bland, but right, direction:
Next step though, get the French Embassy’s cultural services (the New York and D.C. one) a Pinterest account… I mean, the British Embassy has one (and it’s great!!). I think it’d be really popular, don’t you?