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GovLoop Member of Week – Steve Lunceford of GovTwit and Deloitte

Steve Lunceford is one of the many great people I’ve met through GovLoop. Originally we met online through GovLoop but have been able to meet up in person a few times and even co-host a sweet podcast called Gov 2.0 Radio. I thought I’d use this chance to pick his brain….so here we go.

So tell us a little bit of your background. Where did you grow up? Go to school? What were your hobbies?

I grew up in the Washington, D.C. suburbs of Northern Virginia, and went to Journalism School at Radford University in southwest Virginia. As far back as I can remember I’ve been a news junkie and an avid reader.

Where have you worked in government community? Where do you work now?

I was first introduced to the government sector while at Sprint, and led media relations for Sprint’s Government Services Division, which consisted largely of contracts under the FTS2001 program. I also worked on government-related PR and media programs for webMethods and BearingPoint before joining Deloitte’s Public Sector consulting practice last month.

How did you get interested in government marketing?

It was a natural extension of my broad communications and media relations work in the industry.

Do marketers “get” social media? What is the state of the interest and knowledge of social media in the government marketing community?

On a whole, I think many marketers still don’t “get” social media, but they are definitely starting to get interested and are anxious to get up to speed quickly, especially as more of their peers begin to see success with their social media efforts. I think the interest level within the government is certainly as high as the private sector at this point, especially in the Federal government where the executive branch is pushing out mandates and leading by example. The fact that the first-ever Government 2.0 BarCamp this year drew over 500 participants, and that organizations like O’Reilly Media and TechWeb are looking to host “Gov 2.0” events large events, are testaments to how strong interest is now in government adoption of new media.

What has been your favorite project you working around government?

In the world of Gov. 2.0, I’m fascinated by the success stories that have already happened using new media tools, things like the TSA’s Idea Factory, which use new tools to support improved internal communications, or HHS’ use of social media to help alert and inform the public about the recent H1N1 crisis, or the myriad of activities throughout the various military branches and DoD. We need to share these success across agencies, learn how to apply lessons learned in a more systematic way.

How did you hear about GovLoop?

Actually, I learned of GovLoop after joining Twitter and having some good conversations around various government topics. Federal News Radio’s Chris Dorobek may have been the first to mention GovLoop to me.

What keeps you coming back? Any favorite features? Favorite GovLoopers?

Three things I enjoy the most about GovLoop: Good, fresh and relevant content; a wide variety of opinions from the entire community, including state/local government, contractors and international participants; and last, the fact that Steve Ressler is always tweaking and adding new features (like the Twitter Tracker and News Share widgets on the front page).

You are the creator of GovTwit, a cool directory of people from government on Twitter. Tell me about the idea, its growth, and where it is going.

When I joined Twitter last summer, I was pleasantly surprised to find a robust community of folks who were talking about how to improve government. But compiling that list of who to follow, who from government was on Twitter was hard at the time. There were a few random blog posts and a wiki created by another GovLoop member, Ari Herzog, but nothing that was attempting to be a comprehensive directory of both government and the industry surrounding government (reporters, contractors, non-profits, etc). That was the genesis of the idea at the time.

GovTwit has grown from 150 or so names last November to over 1,000 names today, including robust state/local and international listing sections. It’s been featured in numerous media stories, was cited as a “top 15” Twitter directory on Mashable and was called “one of the most excellent examples of a Twitter directory that probably exists on the web,” by TheStrategyWeb.com. This week I plan to launch GovTwit v2.0, which will introduce a host of new features including search, stats, the ability to follow directly from the directory and more. Squeejee, Inc., the team that developed TweetCongress.org helped build out the new features and I hope that users will like the new format.

You also serve as a co-host of Gov 2.0 Radio, an unbelievably fantastic podcast co-hosted with GovLoop members Adriel Hampton, Meghan Harvey, and some guy named Steve Ressler. Tell us a little bit about your experience and what you have been doing.

I was talking one day to Adriel Hampton (one of the top five posters on GovLoop) about some ideas I had for extending GovTwit, including maybe podcasting using BlogTalkRadio, which is an insanely easy-to-use tool. Adriel had been thinking about something similar and he took the bull by the horns and wrangled us all together for what has been a pretty interesting run so far. We’ve had guests from the private sector, from the Air Force, city and state governments, various Federal agencies and more. Folks can check out past shows at http://Gov20Radio.com.

You are stuck in an elevator with the President. What did you tell/ask him?

Can I check out your super-secure BlackBerry?

What else keeps you occupied on your few free seconds? Any secret hobbies? Random skills? Vacations?

I have two kids – a three-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter; they eat up plenty of my wife’s and my “free time.” But I am a gadget and home theater nut, and enjoy futzing around with new consumer technologies. I’m one of the Palm fan boys anxiously awaiting the debut of the Palm Pre smartphone (and its new mobile operating system) this month, for instance.

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Celia Mendive

Cool interview! I completely agree with you: “We need to share these successes across agencies, learn how to apply lessons learned in a more systematic way”. I am hopeful and look forward to the day when collaboration becomes the norm in the federal government.

Andrew Krzmarzick

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Steve Lunceford is one of the most generous people I have met online. I have been struck from the beginning by Steve’s consistent attention to retweeting others’ content vs. promoting his own. In addition, the innovations represented by GovLoop Radio and GovTwit are further examples of how he is using new media to provide valuable information and elevate the work of people tied to public service. Thanks for your generosity and ingenuity, Steve!