Confessions of a Social Maniac

Morning all you Loopers 🙂 This is my first GovLoop Blog entry!

Okay, so it’s not enough to fly from Omaha, Nebraska to participate in a Unified Capabilities Working Group (UCWG) for three intense days, but I also decided I just had to meet some of the people behind the scenes at GovLoop. I have been talking to some of my social media friends now for a couple of years but never met them in person.

I left the end of the first day of briefings and headed out to the event at GovLoop HQ only to remember too late that D.C. traffic is horrible. In spite of an early start and best efforts, I arrived 45 minutes late! Introductions had already been made,so I introduced myself and probably spoke way too much. I have all of this energy, ideas, and passion…so much in fact, I can’t sleep–which is why I’m writing this at almost 3am <sighh> One of the things I shared with the group that I have observed about Social Media is the question I posed when considering each SM platform (Twitter, Facebook, eChirp, MySpace.) “what do I get out of it?” That was when I came up with the following four reasons I believe each of us to come back to these sites and contribute:

My “name” is in print—out there in public!
My “voice” is out there—even if nobody I know is listening <thrilling!>
I may be “recognized!”—even if my own immediate surroundings don’t offer any
formal recognition
I may be “valued”—and given opportunities to make a difference!

Granted, the above may seem a little narcissistic but, it’s human nature! The above four reasons are why we remain in jobs where we may not be getting the best pay or work in the best of conditions—it’s because of relationships and what they give back to us.

Anyway, Steve, Heather, Megan, Lauren, and the others (I either never got their names or can’t remember them) welcomed me–felt like old home week. It was quite a gathering of people (on their own time) brainstorming ways to improve the appearance/layout/functionality of this Social Networking site for government professionals. I had no idea the incredible journey history of this social media effort. I plan to make advocacy of GovLoop’s efforts a priority in my activities on other government provided SM platforms. Look out world…I’m on a mission.

After almost everyone already left, Lauren and Heather and I were sitting around talking. I shared my excitement about my own Twitter activities of late and how/why I chose to really pour myself into it this phenomena. I see each person in a social media environment as a neuron…making synaptic connections from one to another–associating, linking, prioritizing, alerting. The effect is an information neural net, cared for and fed by a coalition of the willing!

Each social media platform is a consciousness that exists around its mission/charter/vision, and is available for anyone to tap into at any moment. How can you possibly place a
value on that? It’s immeasurable because you have no idea the value of the newest neuron’s contributions and how it will impact the collective consciousness of the whole. It only improves with time and more members. Each of us as individuals are limited by our time, resources and reach. Social media changes the rules exponentially.

So, here’s a challenge to all of us with a GovLoop account. Make December “recruitment month!” Heck if NPR can have their annual fund raising drives, why can’t GovLoop do a focus month on recruitment? Perhaps some of you can reply to this blog and weigh in on this thought (good idea, bad idea, good idea-bad timing??)

Thanks to the GovLoop team for welcoming me into last evening’s session…and for the T-Shirt! My Twitter handle for those who care is “justasked”

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Heather Coleman

First of all, congratulations on your first official GovLoop blog post! I love your enthusiasm (mainly because I’m right there with you). I really like the last point you make about being valued. I see a lot of people post on their profiles about wanting to make a difference, to contribute. And GovLoop gives us that wonderful opportunity. I’m setting myself up with a goal of getting “one new member in December”.

Lauren Modeen

I 100% agree with Heather – so many of us on GovLoop simply are fueled by the desire to make a difference. We really value your passion and enthusiasm so keep on blogging, sharing you ideas and we’ll aim to never let a neuron go lonely!

Alan L. Greenberg

Ah, another “Confessions” person. I am probably one of the oldest Loopers. I got involved, quite honestly, because social networking was an important tool for promoting my book, Confessions of a Government Man and govies of all ages are my target market. When I started the writing project right after I retired I never heard of social networking. In a few short years it has become a way of life, not only for “young govies,” but everybody. My marketing effort is totally different than when I started. Besides for the commercial value, I get a real kick out of my new information sharing with young, intelligent people. Never too old to learn new tricks.

Ed Milligan

Thanks for the comment. Agree w/your comment about old dogs and new tricks. That’s another reason I like social media. SM is a cross-generation leveler…to put all at the same level with equal opportunity to be heard, to engage, to effect change.