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At UN, Tale of 12 Twitter Feeds, Missions Tweet Stakeouts, Facebook Start-Ups

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 15 -- It was by Twitter alone that the French Mission to the UN announced two press stakeouts last Friday by its Permanent Representative to the UN. Not surprisingly, the turnout was low -- in fact, only Inner City Press at the second of the two stakeouts, on Mali.

   So it seems timely, especially in this mid-August lull, to review some UN Mission's twitter accounts, and wonder how long it will be until all 193 UN members -- and Palestine and the Holy See -- establish their twitter feeds.

   Beyond its many spokespeople, the US Mission to the UN maintains @USUN, the most recent tweets of which involve Ambassador Susan Rice's time representing President Barack Obama as the closing of the London Olympics.

  The UK Mission to the UK tweets frequently on @UKUN_NewYork, for example yesterday about Ali Saleh supporters' assault on the Yemeni Defense Ministry, about which the UN at its noon briefing said it was not even aware.

  On the Latin tip, @GuatemalaONU while serving in the Security Council last tweeted about its vote for the Syria resolution in the General Assembly on August 3. This even is its affable expert greeted Inner City Press on her way into the GRULAC Third Committee meeting about the rights of the child.

   The Syria GA vote is @NorwayUN's second most recent tweet, superseded by an announcement of the sheathing of the Empire State Building in Norway's colors for its participation in the Olympics.

  One wondered: couldn't many other countries get that as well? Former Permanent Representative of Norway Morten Wetland, a tweeter himself, has gone back to work at First House, from which one hopes he'll tweet. Robert Mood began but stopped.

   Going Germanic, @GermanyUN's last tweet is about a meeting on, what else, the future of the Euro.

   Targets of Security Council sanctions can have their twitter too, although @EritreaUN's only tweet so far this year involves their cycling team.

   While not a member state, though sometimes said to seek to speak like one, the @EUatUN has announced it is moving this month from its offices on 41st Street -- but the new address, on Third Avenue, didn't fit in the tweet, ran over its the EU's page on Facebook. (Inner City Press, with voluteer help, is just starting Beta dabbling in Facebook, here:

  Poland's @PLinUN covered Beyonce in the GA, as did Inner City Press. @SwedenUN did indigenous. @PalauUN promises sub-tweets, with Ambassador Stuart J. Beck notated as SJB.

  South Africa's @SAMissionNY hasn't tweeted since February, but when it did it was about Palestine.

  Italy's @ItMissionUNNY does a lot of re-tweeting, but had an exclusive last month about Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson at the UN Staff College in Turin.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon himself is often (mis) represented by @secgen, which merely takes his daily public schedule and puts it online, even if the events are canceled or don't fit into 140 characters. And so it goes, with the UN and social media.

  We will have more on this. Watch this site - and pitch us your feeds!

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