Posted by Skype-Diplomacy-Rocks!, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 3, 2013 at 2:36 pm
Organizations like the ones identified in this article may have had their place at some time in the past—but in this day of global, and instant, communications—their contributions are difficult to see as meaningful.
With services like Youtube, Skype (including video chat), email, Instant Messengers, VoIP, Google Circles (Video conferencing) —just to name a few—people can communicate with people all over the world very easily, and for the most part—for free.
There are any number of web-sites that are dedicated to “making new friends”. Pick a name, email that person, and “make a connection”. Start talking—without the interference of some sort of parent organization—and start your own instant diplomatic program.
Youtube allows folks the opportunity to visit any city in the world. You and your new “foreign friends” can up load videos out of your digital cameras/phones, and show each other your cities/towns and homes. (This is true with the exception of China, at the moment. However, the Chinese version of Youtube is open to non-Chinese, so you and friends in China can exchange videos on that web-site.)
While the need for these pre-Internet service organizations is mostly over—they could perhaps adapt to the fact that people-to-people interchanges are available to everyone in the world, and help folks make those sorts of connections.
Otherwise, maybe it’s time to consider sun-setting their operations.