State tweets in Arabic, Farsi as protests expands

Monday - 2/14/2011, 8:58pm EST

Collaboration tools like Twitter have allowed agencies to communicate directly with constituents. For the State Department this week, the constituents have been the people and governments in the Arab world.

Last week, as the protests of Egypt entered into its second week, the State Department started tweeting in Arabic under the handle @USAbilAraby.

"The U.S. foreign ministry has recognized the historic role of social media in the Arab world and we want to be part of your conversations," said one of the early tweets, UPI reported.

As the protests spread to Iran and other parts of the region on Monday, State also set up a Twitter feed in Farsi - @USAdarFarsi.

The department told Iranians "we want to join in your conversation." A subsequent tweet called on Iran "to allow people to enjoy same universal rights to peacefully assemble, demonstrate as in Cairo."

ABC7 spoke with tech activist Austin Heap, who called State's online outreach "digital diplomacy."