Week 6: Global Zero

January 29th, 2014

Elliot Carter ’14, Black Fellow in International Policy

With only two weeks left in my fellowship, I am spending more time reflecting on what I have accomplished thus far and what I still want to accomplish while I’m here. This past week I made progress on a writing assignment that is very important to me, and managed to get a lot of smaller assignments checked off my to do list as well. Things have actually been getting more busy here than ever, so it’s kind of a race at this point to see if I can get everything I want across the finish line before I have to leave.

The writing project I mentioned is the same one I’ve been talking about for a couple of weeks – my blog post. After struggling with some writers block in past weeks I finally got my act together and submitted a rough draft a couple of days ago. It came back with heavy revisions, and I am currently in the (long) process of tweaking the piece into something acceptable for publication on the website hopefully. Content wise, the blog post is essentially an argument why the US’s nuclear weapon budget is a strategic mistake. I use a historical allegory to make this point by comparing the nuclear triad of 2014 to the Maginot Line of WWII. Basic point: woe to the military that can’t remain forward thinking. I hope to have the rough draft in better shape by Friday, at which point I will submit it for approval, and probably another round of revisions.

My work with social media continues to bear fruit. Today I had my second story ‘go viral’ (sort of). I have also greatly exceeded the growth metrics I have been shooting for, so that’s good. The importance of social media in political and professional spheres has been one of the biggest surprises of my fellowship. I really had no idea how seriously some organizations take their online presence in venues like Facebook. It makes sense though, as social media is probably the best way to build grassroots support and get your message out to like-minded people. It also came as a surprise how older people have totally ceded the social media domain to younger people. I think this is a good area to have some experience in, and I’m glad I am going to be able to cite it on my resume.

An area I think I have not done enough in is the production of infographics. In earlier posts I mentioned doing a little research and support work on them, but thus far I have not actually made any of my own. I think this is a field similar to social media, where the digital skills of young people are very much in demand by older people in the field who don’t want to have to learn all the new tricks. I intend to make at least one of my own infographics over the next two weeks before I leave.

The final thing on my radar right now is student symposium. I got an email about it yesterday from Cornell and I really want to take some of the research I have been doing here about nukes and turn it into a full project. The blog post I have been revising is a natural starting point.

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