YOU MIGHT have noticed the GovLoop box on the right side of this blog. Started in early 2007, GovLoop features a newsfeed, forums, job and event boards, blogs and profile pages. Most of all it is a social-networking site for public sector types. The site's tag line reads, "Connecting The Government Community."
There is an interview with Steve Ressler, GovLoop's founder over at Government Computer News. Here is a clip:
GCN: When did you come up with the idea of GovLoop? Was there a sparking factor?
Steve Ressler: When I came to the government in 2004, I was fresh out of grad school, and I didn't have any ins in government, there weren't many other young government workers, and I was trying to figure out the bureaucracy.
So I started having happy hours, which grew into [a social-networking] organization, called the Young Government Leaders, which has over 2,000 members now.
Through that, I got to go to a number of conferences, and I saw all these different groups that were interesting — webmasters, people who worked for academia, people who worked for government — and I thought, wouldn't it be great to have these conversations online? I moved to Tampa, Fla., in the winter of 2007, I was out of the of the D.C. conference and happy-hour circuit, and so I [built GovLoop then].
My main thing was that I saw that there were government people siloed and couldn't talk with each other, and so it would be a great place to share ideas and best practices. It's fun as a government person to meet other smart people. It's encouraging and makes you want to stay in government. Even if you are having a bad week, you know you have another support system out there.