'Facebook for government' enters new phase

GovLoop founder to run site full time

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GovLoop founder speaks

GovLoop, the "Facebook-for-government" social-networking Web site, now moves to its next phase from volunteer organization to corporate ownership. The transition, announced Sept. 28, is getting a thumbs-up from many observers but also a few caveats.

GovLoop founder Steve Ressler has left his federal job and is staying on to run the site full-time as part of its acquisition by GovDelivery. Ressler hopes to increase membership to 100,000, from more than 18,000 now.

Some observers say the move could be risky for the future of GovLoop. Although Ressler is gaining the heft of an established company, he's giving up some autonomy in the bargain.

“GovLoop was able to ramp up because it was ‘by, for and of feds’ — govies of all types," said Mark Amtower, a marketing consultant. But because of Ressler's departure from the Homeland Security Department, it no longer has that status, he said. 

The acquisition “seems to be a play for talent more than anything else. Steve Ressler is very connected,” said Aaron Brazell, social-media consultant. “I don't believe it has any implications on revenue streams in social media, however.” Brazell publishes a blog on social media called Technosailor.com.

Others believe Ressler made the right decision. "I think it is a good fit, for a bunch of reasons,” said Mark Drapeau, associate research fellow at the National Defense University’s Center for Technology and National Security Policy and a Federal Computer Week columnist. “The basics of GovLoop will change very little. Now they have capital and some partners, and they will be able to expand it, create solutions and share best practices."

About the Authors

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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