In San Francisco, the loss of a charismatic mayor who served as a social media and civic tech booster-in-chief within city government came as something of a blow to Gov 2.0 advocates last year. However, we rebounded by shifting our focus to building the civic tech and open government community of line workers, developers, activists and media.
Unconferences a couple/few times a year don’t quite do it – they end up being very educational, but the communities they bring together quickly splinter and have little impact on the overall culture of government. With that challenge in mind, Luke Fretwell of GovFresh and I, with support from internal City innovation champions like Jay Nath, Greg Crump and Daniel Homsey, kicked off Third Thursdays, a “no label” civic tech networking community sponsored by CityCampSF (where Luke, Jay and I are all organizers), OpenSF (the internal open government blog that Jay started and where I write), GovFresh, and my Gov 2.0 Radio. We had our third Third Thursdays SF event last night, and it’s really hitting its stride.
I had a great talk with the new manager of the City’s data center consolidation effort, and in attendance were public radio and magazine reporters, developers, founders, activists, politicians, and social media and civic tech enthusiasts of all stripes. If you think the Third Thursdays model may be helpful in your community, talk to Luke or me, we’re happy to help.