Is the State Department's Tweeter-in-Chief Headed to Google?
Please see this disclosure related to me and Google.
Jared Cohen (pictured here), who has gained fame as the State Department’s social networking phenom and the youngest member of its policy planning staff, is considering taking a job at Google in a strategic policy role, said sources close to the situation.
Cohen has been in discussions with Google very recently about going there, those sources said, although it is not a done deal.
In other words, the revolving door between Washington, D.C., and Silicon Valley keeps on turning, especially Googlers.
Katie Jacobs Stanton, who worked for both Google (GOOG) and Yahoo (YHOO), recently left a job at the State Department to return to California to head international efforts for Twitter.
Google’s top policy wonk, Andrew McLaughlin, serves as deputy chief technology officer.
Sonal Shah, who worked at Google.org, is now director of the White House’s new Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation.
And Sumit Agarwal, who was head of Google’s mobile product management, became the deputy assistant secretary of defense for outreach and social media in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense.
Coincidentally, for their Twitter-as-statecraft fame, the 28-year-old Cohen, along with Alec Ross, a senior adviser for innovation at the State Department, got the full New York Times magazine profile treatment earlier this month in a piece titled “Digital Diplomacy.”
Wrote Jesse Lichtenstein:
“Their Twitter posts have become an integral part of a new State Department effort to bring diplomacy into the digital age, by using widely available technologies to reach out to citizens, companies and other nonstate actors. Ross and Cohen’s style of engagement–perhaps best described as a cross between social-networking culture and foreign-policy arcana–reflects the hybrid nature of this approach…They are the public face of a cause with an important-sounding name: 21st-century statecraft.”
If it sounds a lot twee in a policy wonk way, it definitely is, which should fit in well at Google, which could use a few friendlier faces to show off in Washington, where some regulators are eyeballing the search giant’s growing power closely.
In the piece, Cohen is seen as playing the organizer of a private dinner Secretary Hillary Clinton had with some Silicon Valley power players, including Google CEO Eric Schmidt, earlier this year.
He and Ross have also been leading technology delegations abroad to places like Iraq, Haiti, Russia and the Congo, chock full of Internet leaders.
Cohen, who attended Stanford University and was also a Rhodes scholar, was actually appointed by the Bush administration’s secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice.
He is also the author of a book, “Children of Jihad: A Young American’s Travels Among the Youth of the Middle East.”
Google and Cohen both declined to comment.
But to give you an idea of their close relationship, here is a video of Cohen and Ross in a conversation with Schmidt at the the Googleplex in Mountain View, Calif., in March: