Last week I was lucky enough to speak with Gov 2.0 superstar and GovLoop founder Steve Ressler about what’s happening with GovLoop, where the site is going and how sites like it are having a larger impact. You can read the whole two-part interview series in full on the Rock Creek blog, or check out the first couple of questions and answers below. Thanks again Steve!
First of all, congratulations on GovLoop achieving its 10,000th member! GovLoop is certainly one of the many Gov 2.0 success stories. Would you say that the government is out in front of the social media revolution, or are most government agencies still the “late adopters” that they’re often characterized as?
You hear stories on both ends of the spectrum, either “the government is lagging behind” or “the government is leading the charge.” Based on my experience going to conferences and other events, I think the government is slightly in front of the curve.
Certainly there have been private sector successes like Dell, Starbucks, and Sun Microsystem’s blogs, but I think that government agencies are starting to build examples, too. It’s still an early time in social media—right now you have maybe 25 good examples of the government using social media, but I bet in a year we’ll have 100 good examples, and in three years we’ll have 1000. The government is certainly taking the lead with initiatives around the swine flu and the whole Intellipedia project.
GovLoop is certainly in front of the curve. So how did you come up with the idea for GovLoop in the first place?
I had been involved with Young Government Leaders and had received the chance to speak with people at conferences and meet people on a local, state, national, and international level. We would have these rich dialogues, and I thought about how great it would be to be able to continue these conversations.
Then when I moved down to Tampa a year and a half ago, it gave me even more incentive to start something. Something like 80% of federal employees work outside of D.C., and here are all these people like me who aren’t in D.C., or people who simply don’t have time to go to all of these events. So I started GovLoop as a way to continue those conversations no matter where we are.
GovLoop is doing so well. You make it look easy, but I know there’s a lot of hard work happening every day. What has been the most difficult part of building this community so far, and what advice would you give others wanting to start their own online communities?