10 social networking sites to keep you in the loop

Do you find you need to attend breakfast presentations, department meetings, industry events, charity dinners and out-of-town conferences just to stay current? Are you forever tethered to your phone, Blackberry and computer? Wouldn't it be great if you could do all your networking online -- from the couch at home? Dream on.

Until that day, these government IT social-networking sites will keep you in the loop. Find more of our favorites in the annual Federal List issue.

1. GovLoop -- GovLoop has rapidly established itself as the pre-eminent location on the Web where government people can meet and interact with like-minded souls.

2. Gov Twit -- This is the site to find out what’s happening on Twitter across the global government community, including relevant sites from academia, industry, media and nonprofits.

3. NAPA Collaboration Project -- A wikified space that seeks to gather and share ideas and insights about how the government can solve — or at least improve — its myriad problems using Web 2.0 technologies.

4. The Gov IT Wiki -- A wisdom-of-the-crowd site, it covers all things related to government IT, with lists of tech trends, agencies, budgets, contracts and more, contributed by IT folks and interested bystanders.

5. NASA CoLab -- The many NASA communities can connect and collaborate on projects among themselves and with the agency's external partners.

6. The Federal Contractor Network -- Not to be outdone, federal contractors now have their own site they can use to find government job opportunities — and it's a place to kvetch.

7. GovStation -- Described as the first anonymous discussion forum for government employees and contractors, its themes run the gamut from careers to IT, Gov 2.0 and security clearances.

8. Sensorpedia -- The Oak Ridge National Laboratory launched this site to try to use social networking to organize and provide near real-time collaboration among U.S. and global communities that need to share important sensor data.

9. FedScoop -- Not strictly a social-networking site, it is the most comprehensive one-stop introduction to government-related blogs and other Web 2.0 sources.

10. MeritTalk -- The site is a marketplace of ideas from some of the most provocative voices in the government IT community, with plenty of research and stats to back them up.

Did we miss any? Let us know where else you hang your virtual hat by submitting a comment below.

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