Growing GovLoop is more than increasing membership. It is only a noteworthy goal, if more concrete and useful action occurs, past growing the numbers. As an evaluator, counting an increase in contacts has nothing to do with whether people are using the program or gaining any benefit from participation, let alone anything about the quality of the effort. In the business world, walking through the door of a store does not tell you if anyone actually bought anything. It is only a very baseline indicator of increased activity.
A similar discussion is taking place regarding ROI and new advertising frameworks for social networks and social media. Advertising on social networks is emerging as a topic of great interest, as people attempt to monetize their sites to support the work.
My own experience, even if groups have numbers, does not translate necessarily into participation. There are a lot of tourists and bystanders. This is a curiosity in many social networks, including mine and in my two groups on GovLoop.
So far GovLoop has done a terrific job of generating so much wonderful sharing, discussions, ideas, events and a sense of freedom to challenge current (old) paradigms of organizational design. Is the idea that growing the numbers of members will translate into increased leverage for change within our institutions?
As an outside of government group now, does GovLoop become a kind of lobbying organization for organizational change to support Web 2.0? How does the relationship of GovLoop, to government itself change, as a result of the new partnership with GovDelivery? How does this change government employees expectations and participation in this social network? Do you think members will continue to participate in the same way, especially government members?
Getting this change point “right” has to be very thought provoking for Steve and the key leaders within GovLoop. I read somewhere that Steve intends to pull together a good advisory board. Very good idea to host some candid meetings with people who are more than Steve’s cheerleaders.
Now that GovLoop is part of an outside, for profit, enterprise, what happens with the ideas which have been freely written and shared up to this point? Part of growing GovLoop has to involve writing clear guidelines, terms, and policies. That kind of ground work will make a big difference in the immediate moment and in the future to members.
Is GovLoop and Steve synonymous/one entity or is GovLoop a network with an identity separate from it’s founder? The recent changes at GovLoop have provoked questions organizationally and strategically in my mind.
I love participating, meeting incredible people and all the very smart conversations on this site. Looking at GovLoop always gives me a lift, and I’ve had fun writing out some of my ideas. I hope Steve will take it slowly enough so people understand the transition, what changes will occur because of selling/merging the site and the role GovLoop plays going forward in the bigger picture. Is Steve thinking GovLoop will act as an intermediary organization for change in government? Bringing inside and outside pressure?
If I was Steve, I’d be asking myself questions about the purpose of GovLoop, beyond a social network and idea exchange site.
Great Question Andrew!