State Dept sees diplomatic potential in SMS

Bergin said texting can a very good channel for citizens that feel unsafe speaking out loud about certain issues. For example, last fall the State Department began working with Mexican authorities to develop a channel for citizens to report crimes via text messages.

When asked if the Department has any policy on foreign citizens using social media to question their own government such as the widely-cited use of Twitter during last year's Iranian protests, Bergin seemingly endorsed the practice.

"I personally think these technologies are empowering for people, they allow them to have a voice," Bergin said. "Some people will use it for expressing their politicla views and that's not a bad thing."

Bergin also pointed to an example from President Obama's recent trip to Africa where the State Department collected more than 200,000 questions from Africans via instant messaging and texts. The questions were later posed to Obama by African journalists on a podcast.

"Our goal is to give a voice and open a dialogue to as many people as we can," Bergin said. "Having innovations from other places besides the West is really exciting."