The Importance of Virtual Community Amongst Government Geeks
BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, April 30 2009
I briefly noted in our cache clearing yesterday that GovLoop -- the social network for government employees and those that love them -- reached the 10,000 member mark in just under a year. As an extracurricular project of one dude looking for a hobby, that's not entirely unimpressive. (More details on Steve Ressler's story here, from Micah back in January.) A few notes on why it's also important, even though that number represents 1/50th of Rainn Wilson's Twitter followers.
It's a cliche to say that government tends to exists in silos. It also has the benefit of being true. But it's incredibly short-sighted of us. People working in, say, human resources at USDA are going to have more in common with HR folks at DHS than they might have with staff scientists in their own agency. Or you may be really into open source, while everyone else in your department looks at you like you're crazy when you bring it up in the cafeteria -- again. There's even a GovLoop group solely for the small band of government photographers which, when you think about it, is pretty cool. Networking can make government service a little less lonely. Considering the sometimes meager pay and ever-present fluorescent lighting public service entails, human connections can take on a greater importance there than they do in the private sector.