Top Embassy Facebook Pages – 10,000+ Fan Club

The State Department maintains 248 Facebook pages with a total of 2,424,191 fans.  The following ranking is based on  the stats from the Office of Innovation Dashboard (thanks Darren!). Excluded from the list are American Centers, IRCs and other groups not directly managed by embassies/consulates. US Embassy Jakarta Facebook, #1 in the list below is #2 in the State Department’s Top Ten Pages.  US Embassy LaPaz, #2 in the ranking below is #10 in the State Department’s Top Ten Pages (includes non-embassy pages).

I cannot tell off hand which post/mission has a dedicated social media team. In a majority of cases, I understand that new media outreach is performed as collateral duties by the FSNs and FSOs in the Public Affairs Section. It is time intensive and performed in addition to demands by the traditional media and other work requirements of the section. Other posts have hired locals as new media staff, but I’m not sure which ones below have that extra help.

Number of Fans

* Between Dhaka and Bridgetown above should be US Embassy Nepal (SCA) whose FB page currently has 12,491 fans (thanks Heather!).  See notes below.

I should note that US ConGen Lahore and Karachi have now been in the Dashboard’s top “movers” in the last several months. Each has been raking in fans and one or the other may soon dislodge US Embassy Sri Lanka  as #1 FB page in the SCA region.  Embassy Islamabad, trailing both in fandom is also running an FB logo contest, dangling an Apple Ipod Nano and an invitation to a U.S. Embassy official event as prizes.

ConGen Lahore ran “top fan” and “old is gold” competitions, and also a series on the “old is gold” theme including Duke Ellington performance in Lahore in 1963 and the Apollo 17 Astronauts visit to Pakistan in 1973.

ConGen Karachi engages with its fans actively and has been quite liberal with sharing photos of its official activities. It is also running a contest allowing its fans to pick the consulate’s profile photo in FB. It has 450 votes and counting. Below is the leading pick:

Consul General William Martin, Cultural Affairs Officer Sue, and
Information Officer Andie with Public Affairs Team
at Jinnah’s Tomb Karachi
US Embassy Bridgetown FB seems quite a popular destination for visa inquiries. Although it refuses to answer visa inquiries posted on its wall, it provides a discussion forum for its fans.

US Embassy Paris FB, the only EUR post to make it to the 10,000+ fan club will not be running a profile photo contest; it already has one with Ambassador Rivkin and President Obama.

US Embassy Baghdad FB is the only war zone post that made it to this list.  It is mostly in Arabic so besides seeing that it’s continuing with its “window” series, I can’t tell much what’s going on there.  Embassies in Tripoli, Kabul, and Mexico are also in Facebook with varying levels of foreign public engagements.

Of course, I need not point out that the WHA posts dominate this fandom list. But my brain refuses to translate today. So go ahead and check out each mission using the links above.

Updated @1:33 pm EST:

I was told that a 3:1 ratio of LES:FSO in field PAS sections actually log-in regularly to engage foreign publics. 

Heather of Adventures Around the World, currently posted in Kathmandu points out that US Embassy Nepal has over 12,000 fans in Facebook. The omission was unintentional; I based my list on the Dashboard, which identifies 22 sites and a total of 175,952 fans in the SCA region.  US Embassy Nepal FB has been left out of the Dashboard. I have added the stats above.    

Updated @ 10:01 pm PST
Okay, so I was told by mothership-type person about that 3:1 ratio of LES:FSO in field PAS sections who “actually log-in regularly to engage foreign publics.” The source of this ratio is supposedly a recently conducted survey, in-house, of course, among social media community managers in the field.  I have requested to see the survey and the results including the metrics used, if any by the State Department to measure engagement (besides fan numbers, that is).

After hours, I’ve received more than one question on that 3:1 ratio of FSNs and FSOs working the new media gig. From the same folks reportedly surveyed I was told, “don’t know where that 3:1 ratio for LES (FSNs) and FSOs came from,” with my correspondents insisting that 3:1 is not at all accurate citing examples when that ratio is 1:1.  One says that it is “vital to have Americans actively engaged, as one of the purposes of the page is people-to-people interaction between Americans and a foreign audience.” And I agree, which also brings into question FB pages that are primarily in foreign languages instead of English. I mean, it is good if American officers do show that they know the host country’s language in their online engagement, but some of State’s FB pages are not even in English, while others are bilingual, with English as the minority language in the official FB posts.

At one point, USIS centers were everywhere; but the programs were in English for the most part.  In the case of US Embassy Jakarta FB which is run mostly in the local language, I am under the impression that the online engagement is primarily done by its local staff. Where is the American face there?

Another correspondent questions the uneven quality of the Facebook pages and moans the emphasis placed on number of FB fans rather than on the basics — good photos, engaging stories, effective outreach events, etc.  and of course, results.  If you have 50,000 FB fans, what does that mean in the real world? Are we winning hearts and minds online?

I understand the frustration, but unfortunately, the fan numbers are the easiest to dig up.  I am looking for other metrics that State is using to measure engagement and effectivity effectiveness of Facebook pages beyond number of fans. I will update if I hear from anyone.

2011 AFSA Election Results, a Disappointing Turn Out

The AFSA Committee on Elections announced the results of the 2011-2013 AFSA Governing Board Election without much fanfare. I actually had to write to AFSA to inquire about the public release of the results since I could not locate them in the AFSA website. I was told that the results were released to the membership; and can be found here (see in archives dated June 10). I am told it will also be printed in the September issue of the Foreign Service Journal.

According to AFSA, a total of 2,523 ballot envelopes were received of which 2,510 were valid ballots (13 were voided due to ballot irregularities). For comparison, there were 3,326 ballots cast in the 2009 elections. So some 800 AFSA members who voted in 2009, did not vote in the 2011 elections.

AFSA represents over 28,000 active and retired Foreign Service employees of the Department of State and Agency for International Development (AID), as well as smaller groups in the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service (FCS), and International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB). The AFSA website indicates that its has over 15,000 dues-paying members. This means that approximately 17% of the members voted in this election, down by 7% from the number of voters in the 2009 election. A disappointing turn out but not totally unexpected.

The following AFSA members have been elected:

Officer Positions on the Board


Susan Johnson (elected), 1,479 votes
Tex Harris, 986 votes

Treasurer: Andrew Winter, 2,066 votes

Secretary: Susan Shultz, 2,001 votes

Retiree Vice President: Robert Houdek, 1,139 votes

State Vice President: Daniel Hirsch, 622 votes.

USAID Vice President: Francisco Zamora, 113 votes

FCS Vice President: Keith Curtis, 34 votes.

FAS Vice President: David Mergen, 27 votes.

Constituency Representatives of the Board

Retiree Representatives (4 vacancies):

Molly Williamson (elected), 855 votes
Edward Marks (elected), 798 votes
Hugh Neighbour (elected), 752 votes
Mary Ellen Gilroy (elected), 749 votes

State Representatives (10 vacancies):

Matthew Asada, 688 votes
Kenneth Kero-Mentz, 675 votes
Kimberly Krhounek, 667 votes
David Zwach, 663 votes
Elise Mellinger, 661 votes
Les Hickman, 657 votes
Mary Glantz, 18 write-ins
Joyce Namde, 13 write-ins
William Bent, 6 write-ins
Grace Choi, 3 write-ins

USAID Representatives(2 vacancies):

Michael Henning, 117 votes
Dennis M. Fuentes, 1 write-in

FCS Representative: Steve Morrison, 34 votes

FAS Representative:
Andrew Burst, 1 write-in (determined by coin-toss)

IBB Representative: Zero votes.

See the full list here.

State VP Daniel Hirsh who was reelected for his second term and who has pledged not to run again in 2013 writes: ” I am committed to advancing the reforms to AFSA’s elections process which were stymied by our opponents during the past two years.  This includes, first and foremost, a bylaws amendment regarding term limits. […] Somewhere along the way, AFSA has lost your trust. We will do better – I will do more – to make AFSA relevant to you.”