from Politics, Power, and Preventive Action and Center for Preventive Action

FP’s Twitterati 100

June 20, 2011

Blog Post
Blog posts represent the views of CFR fellows and staff and not those of CFR, which takes no institutional positions.

Twitter CEO Evan Williams speaks at a news conference as the the website is launched, in San Francisco, California September 14, 2010. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

I woke up this morning to a deluge of new twitter followers. At first I panicked: what inflammatory tweet might have sparked so much interest so quickly? But soon I learned that my surge in popularity was courtesy of the folks at Foreign Policy, who named me to their list of the Foreign Policy Twitterati 100.  Though technically based in New York, I am enormously gratified to have been included as one of seven “Washington Wonks” listed—the geographical error being all the more flattering given all the incredibly smart people doing foreign policy thinking in DC.  

While grateful, I can’t help but betray a bit of bemusement at my selection as a member of the elite foreign policy “twitterati.” I am not computer savvy, and relied on microfilm and microfiche for my undergraduate and graduate research papers. I have minimal training for how to use social media and remain an unsophisticated consumer of digital content (case in point: I follow only fourteen people on twitter). Embarrassingly, I also must confess that I am still puzzling over some basic twitter functions as well as the seemingly never-ending stream of #neologisms.

In truth, I opened a twitter account on a whim, as a means to share the random factoids, quotes, reports, and books I come across as a relentless scanner of news, government publications, academic journals, and other content. Nearly 800 tweets later, I’ve learned that twitter is a powerful tool for disseminating and exchanging ideas.

My inclusion on Foreign Policy’s list speaks well to the flexibility of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), which—at the spry age of ninety—has an incredibly prolific twitter presence. I recommend checking out my CFR colleagues for smart tweeting: @stevenacook, @johncampbellcfr, @levi_m, @latintelligence, @JamesMLindsay, @MaxBoot, @Laurie_Garrett, @gaylelemmon, @dansenor, @JaredCohen, @joelhirst, @robertdanin, @edwardalden, @JendayiFrazer, @JonathanPearl. The main CFR twitter account, @CFR_org, also does an excellent job of highlighting all of our work.

Outside of CFR, I’m also a fan of @mattduss, @mwhanna1, @AzmatZahra, @speechboy71, and @afpakchannel, as well as funny posters, like the fake @Henry_Kissinger, and @drunkenpredator.

I would be remiss if I didn’t end this post with a big thank you to the bright people at Foreign Policy, many of whom are equally deserving of recognition for the great contributions they make on twitter.