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'Facebook for Feds' Hits 10,000 Members

By Ed O'Keefe

GovLoop.com, the social networking site for public sector employees crossed the 10,000-member milestone this week, less than a year from its launch. The site lags far, far, far behind social media superstars Facebook, YouTube or Twitter, but it serves as an easy way for bureaucrats to swap ideas and suggestions in a quick, easy format.

Users have shared ideas on improving the acquisition process, provided suggestions for the Obama administration's Open Government Memo and helped develop best practices for government agencies' use of social media. The site's accomplishments come as the federal government continues its embrace of Web 2.0 technologies: President Obama has adapted the weekly radio address to the Internet; the General Services Administration has announced a partnership with Facebook; and Google announced plans to launch a search tool helping Web users more easily find public information.

GovLoop's membership includes thousands of federal, state and local government employees in the United States, government employees from Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and a few journalists who cover the bureaucracies. (Full disclosure: The Eye is a GovLoop member. Friend me!)

Next week the site will serve as the online home for Public Service Recognition Week, inviting participants to share ideas on improving government.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | April 29, 2009; 11:02 AM ET
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Comments

I tried to go to this website from work. It's blocked. I guess not all fed agencies want you to go to this.

Posted by: odenton | April 29, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Our agency (NIST) used it for awhile and, after several months, activity petered out. I think I know why: Discussions are disorganized and browsing through them is awkward. It's hard to find relevant items. Of the three groups that I joined, each died. One turned out to be an advertising vehicle for the person who created it and the other two already had mail lists elsewhere that are more than enough.

I appreciate that there is potential synergy for bringing government employees and interested parties together but govloop fails to do it in an efficient and enjoyable way. Nor does it fill a vacuum - there are plenty of other sites that, while not aimed at the government, certainly allow govt employees and agencies to do their thing - such as linkedin, youtube, blogspot, and hundreds of similar sites.

Posted by: donlibes | April 29, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Odenton has a point. My wife works in a federal agency that does not allow access to social networking sites like these. It frustrates her as she is in communications and wants to use these social networking sites to make her agency's work accessible to a wider audience.

(The same agency also has biases against Mac platforms and often has difficulty making its web sites accessible to the disabled, but that's another story.)

Posted by: jcbcmb68 | April 29, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse


okay......this comes under "policy" of your particular fed agency
or state agency.

Internet policies of individual agencies are blocking it. Internet abuse at government agencies is a big "thing"...
They probably shouldn't....but obviously did not take any action to un-block.
Looks like, in general, your agency, dept., branch, etc.
didn't get the memo on what to do about accessing the site.

//
Always a problem on the NET....getting the pertinent usable information amidst massive input.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 29, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

I am under 30 years old, and I work for a government agency. At the behest of all my non-government friends, I joined LinkedIn. Basically every industry but government is on LinkedIn. I had to beg colleagues to join so I could expand my network and get necessary recommendations. It is such a collosal loss that government folks are not using this system!!! It is amazing and can connect them to eachother as well as millions of people in the private sector. Please join and spread the word - LinkedIn is it! It just goes to show how far behind government really is.

Posted by: american12 | April 29, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Have you tried out our new site - govstation.com? it's an anonymous forum for government contractors and agency employeers. Check us out!

Posted by: govstation | April 29, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

This site sucks. State department uses the same off the shelf product and it just doesn't hold up. Better to just let facebook do the same for government. at least they know what they're doing.

Posted by: lkoverhere | April 29, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the feedback....

-Odenton - A couple agencies group GovLoop in with all social networking therefore the ban. But its a small minority and people have asked and successfully got it unblocked.

-NIST - I agree that it can awkward at times and we are working hard to add some structure to the discussions/groups/blogs. There's too much great content sometimes so it can be hard to navigate.

If anyone has any questions, feel free to email me at founder at govloop.com.

-Steve

Posted by: sressler | April 29, 2009 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Look! I work as a civlian for the Navy. Before that DoD (DFAS) and the IRS... and before the active Army (30 years). I can tell you right now within DoD, you have too many chiefs in charge of IT, but are clueless of IT. Many of the DoD leaders refused to learn IT, but now they are in charge of it. Look at the USB Thumb Drive silly fiasco. They banned ALL USB Thumb Drives because there were a couple of FOOLS with viruses. They block 99% of personal email sites claiming their dangerous! They block YouTube claiming it is dangerous.

The ONLY way they will listen to anyone is from the top down. Employees along the work force MEAN NOTHING to them! Until this Obama admin gets it thru their skulls that we have a big problem Houston... and it is NOT the work force! It is the leadership. Whether it is IT, NSPS, or Training, or whatever, the work force pays for incompetence or screw ups! When they should be focusing at the top... then work their way down. Nope! They slam on the work force while the leadership sit back and giggle, with their whips! DO IT NOW and shut up!

Listen to what I am saying and realize this -- if you want to make the federal workplace, a nice place to work. It will never be a fun place... as long as their are military mingled in with civilian! A good example, just TRY to work as a supervisor in a Marine HQs... EEO is a helicopter and don't even CROSS anyone in their ranks... you'll be dead meat and a ruined career!

Think I am jokin?

Posted by: darmar40 | April 30, 2009 7:22 AM | Report abuse

I have to congratulate Steve for creating govloop.com. It is a lot of work to administer a site that has grown, at this speed, and make it work for the majority of members.

I'm guessing that govloop.com does not have any funding for the time it takes to make sure all goes well.

I have gotten a great deal out of being a member and found a very interesting group of people willing to share ideas and connections.

A site as complex and generous as govloop.com comes from a compelling interest in collaboration, new ideas and bringing people together.

Steve's site is a terrific example of a viral community growing out of common interest. govloop.com is impressive, well managed and is doing something new.

I run a similar (but much smaller) site(pdxdog.com) for dog lovers in Portland OR, the Oregonian calls the "Facebook for Dogs" and NPR calls a great example of niche community building.

I know on a daily basis how much work goes into building that kind of quality community.

It isn't easy, but it is compelling.

Posted by: pdxdog | May 2, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

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