The Thirst for Knowledge

Budgets are tight and travel restrictions remain. But, it’s clear to me that nothing can diminish the thirst for knowledge.

In my field (which was IT, then was web, then was digital communications, and is now public information), change is rapid-fire. Expectations run high, and not just those of management. Now, it’s citizen expectations for social and mobile and so much more.

In my training classes, I explain that we have to communicate with our constituents in every available space. The same is true of learning. We can’t just learn from books, articles, webinars… we have to use every option available to keep up. But, the most important is still face to face with peers and instructors.

Conversations spark ideas. We can be “devils-advocates” with each other. We can discuss what others have done, where they had problems, improve on those ideas, moderate them for our particular situation. This is what makes going, in person, to a conference so valuable. Besides the energy, it’s the conversation.

GovLoop listed the NAGW Conference as one of the top 25 of the year ( If you can find a few dollars for some great education and even better peer-networking, visit and check out the great lineup for this year’s National Conference in Louisville KY from 9/24 to 9/27.

If you’re involved in Emergency Communication, you’ll love the Friday Focus: a full day information from those in the trenches.

Ideas. Information. Innovation. I’m headed to #NAGW2013 in September to get my fill of all these. Hope to see you there.

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Henry Brown

Ms. Spencer; you make very valid points however IMO you have an up-hill battle because of budgetary and political issues to engage a significant portion of agency leaders.

John Robert Nixon

It’s been a pleasure to be a part of NAGW for several years now. I find it amazing how after someone attends the conference, they try so hard to come back the following year. We need person-to-person conversations to generate ideas and innovate in our fields. We’re expected to do more and more with less, which makes collaboration paramount to our success. Whether you casually work on your government’s website, post content, work on social media OR are responsible for notifying the public during an emergency, I’d really encourage you to attend the NAGW conference and Friday Focus.

Carol A. Spencer

I think, at least at the local level, our community leaders are beginning to truly understand the power of engaged citizens, and not be quite so frightened of that engagement. When constituents are complaining because there wasn’t information on Facebook or Twitter (or even on websites) during the latest storm or power outage, they are taking notice. NAGW has been helping in this arena for more than 10 years now, and the interaction at the conference is a key component of success. Yes, the battle is an uphill one, but governments have to communicate. Conferences like NAGW are the perfect places to learn best practices and innovative solutions, giving the taxpayers a visible ROI for having attended.

Marc Drummond

If you leave somebody thirsty long enough, they get dehydrated, and very bad things happen. The same is very much true for those working with the web. The way the web works changes very fast. The skills I need today are not the same skills I needed nine years ago when I started in my position. If organizations do not invest time and resources in keeping their employees’ skills up to date, they’ll soon find that their employees are not equipped to deal with the new challenges they face. And that’s when very bad things happen. It’s true, we all do what we can on our own to keep up with all the changes, which can be a real struggle. I’ve found that in person conferences like NAGW’s are invaluable not only for the knowledge shared in sessions and keynotes, but also in the conversations with fellow attendees, who are facing the same struggles I am. Hopefully organizations will see the importance in continuing to invest in employee education to ensure their employees can handle the new challenges they face each day.

Ryan Drake

After attending my first NAGW conference last year I’d like to echo everyone’s comments. It’s the best conference I’ve been to and am looking forward to attending for years to come!