John Kerry’s on Instagram — but the Ayatollah beat him there

The State Department on Monday debuted on Instagram, the social media service that enables users to share artfully-filtered pictures of their cats. Or if you’re Secretary of State John Kerry, spread diplomacy and build global goodwill for the United States, one retro-effect snapshot and video at a time.

Could it be that Foggy Bottom is already seeing the influence of Macon Phillips, the former White House digital guru, who’s taking over the State Department’s propaganda arm? As our colleague Phillip Rucker reported last week, he’s tasked with using social media to win over hearts and minds — or at least garner a few more “likes” for the United States.

Though we should note that Kerry’s just a little late to the Instagram party than, say, that paragon of digital hipness, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Iran’s Supreme Leader has been Instagram-ing for months. According to the U.S. Institute of Peace, he’s got quite a social-media presence (he’s even on Google Plus!).

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.
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