Michael McFaul has gone native.

Founded in 1999, LiveJournal is the methuselah of social networking. It’s been called “laughably obsolete.” Much of the world has moved on to Tumblr and Twitter

So why does the United States's ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, have a LiveJournal blog? The thing is, while Livejournal might be close to dead in the rest of the world, it still rules in Russia, with an estimated 5.7 million русский users.

In 2012, when the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs took to Twitter to express outrage at comments made by McFaul, he responded with a lengthy blog post on LiveJournal--to the surprise of no one.

Carl Bildt, the Swedish foreign minister, responded on Twitter: "I see that Russia MFA has launched a twitter-war against US Ambassador @McFaul. That's the new world—followers instead of nukes. Better."

LiveJournal is just an extension of McFaul's social media presence, however. When McFaul  called Russia a “wild country”—a mistake in “bad Russian”, the ambassador later said—he tried to explain himself on Twitter.

This is a mark of a savvy 21st century politician, even if LiveJournal is a 20th century technology. The question shouldn’t be why is McFaul on LiveJournal, it’s why aren’t all our ambassadors following his lead?

Take Gary Locke, the American ambassador to China, who still doesn’t have an account on the Middle Kingdom’s social media platform of choice, Sina Wiebo. After all, Locke is already a Weibo star. He briefly became a kind of folk hero on the social network, after netizens discovered photos of the ambassador humbly carrying his own bag, a stark contrast the imperious behavior of his powerful Chinese counterparts. Now he just needs to carry his own Weibo account.

Illustration by Fernando Alfonso III

Promoted Stories Powered by Sharethrough
Layer 8
A female Lebanese news anchor was told to shut up—here's what she did instead
Rima Karaki is a Lebanese TV host who isn't afraid of a fight. Things got heated Monday when Karaki was interviewing Hani Al-Seba'i about the phenomenon of Christians joining Islamic groups like ISIS. Al-Seba’i is a Sunni scholar who fled to London after he was sentenced in an Egyptian court to 15 years in prison for being a part of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. The United Nations considers the group to be an affiliate of al Qaeda.
michael mcfaul
Impostor posing as U.S. ambassador briefly wreaks havoc in Russian Twittersphere.
Vladmir Putin’s presidential election win over the weekend came with the help of clever voter fraud, his opponents claim. For a brief time Sunday night, his critics had a high-ranking American ally who agreed—or so they thought.
The Latest From Daily Dot Video

Pure, uncut internet. Straight to your inbox.

Thanks for subscribing to our newsletter!