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3 Conversations I’d Have at the Government Web and New Media Conference

This week – March 17-18 – is the annual Government Web and New Media Conference in Washington DC. This conference, which is sponsored by the Federal Web Managers Council and the General Services Administration, is THE event for web communicators at all levels of government. In addition to having great “how-to” sessions, you’ll hear inspirational speakers, form your own un-conference seminars, and – best of all – network with your colleagues. It’s an opportunity to restore your passion and energy for serving the public through the internet. And it’s a great chance to have some thought-provoking conversations.

If I were going to be there, here are three conversations I’d like to have with my colleagues.

  1. How can we use what we’re learning here to provide better customer service across government? So many terrific sessions on the schedule…innovation, new media, challenges, plain language, and more. GSA will share all the wonderful support and tools they have to offer the government web communications community to help you make your customers’ experience better. But what will you do with all that good stuff? How will you – the people who are on the line for great customer service – bundle the ideas and new skills you gain into action? What are you willing to do – on your own or as a group – to improve the way government serves its customers?
  2. What’s next? Where are we going as a community? Where’s our niche in government? Do we want to stay what we are – a grassroots collective that’s been pretty successful by building critical mass and adopting common best practices? Or do we want/need to be something more formal to accomplish what we want to do? Do we need a Chief Web Officer at OMB? Would that help us or hurt us? What role do we need GSA to play to help us move forward? Is the Federal Web Managers Council an adequate governance group or do we need something else? What are the pros and cons? How can we cause the changes we want?
  3. How can we expand the knowledge in our community? When you leave this conference, I guarantee you’ll be flying high. So many new ideas…things you want to try…new strategies…new skills. So how can you take that energy and knowledge back and share with others who work on your agency’s website? How can you get them excited? I’m not just talking about your web team members. I’m also talking about all those people – probably hundreds of them – who contribute content to your website and social media efforts regularly. How do you pass along the training and synergy of this conference? How do you bring others into the community?

This conference is the place for some great “big think.” Brainstorm, try out new ideas, and test your “out there” concepts. I wish I could be there to start conversations…light some fires, spark some spirited discussion. Since I can’t go, maybe you’ll have them for me. Have fun!

PS – If you can’t attend the conference in person, follow it on Twitter #govwebcon.

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Also tied to #1 is what is it going to take for the ideas to become reality. How do I move this through internally? Build allies? What resources required?