6 Big Questions for the Future of Gov 2.0

FCW readers speak out on Gov 2.0

You no longer have to tell anyone in journalism that the world is changing under our feet. The old city editor’s joke, “If it’s news to you, it’s news to us!” has boomeranged right back at us. As often as not, dear reader, you already know what we’re trying so hard to tell you.

It may have taken awhile to fully “get it,” but get it we do now. At Federal Computer Week – and most especially on FCW.com – some of the most informative and insightful content is coming to us directly from our readers. You are doing this mainly in the form of online comments, which you submit at the end of the individual stories and blogs. Since we first opened up our sites (including sisters GCN.com and WashingtonTechnology.com) to user comments last year, we have received literally thousands of user-generated submissions.

What’s more, the level of intellectual discourse goes way beyond all expectations. We’ve always gotten thoughtful Letters to the Editor in response to our print offerings but nothing on the scale or passion of the online platform. The fact is, our audience of government technology professionals and program managers knows its stuff and, given the proper forum, is quite eager to share it with colleagues.

So it’s high time that our old print paradigm reflected this new world order. This special issue of Federal Computer Week is devoted entirely to the comments and insights of our readers. That’s right: Every feature article and sidebar is user-generated. Even the editorial cartoon on the back page was turned into a caption contest.

As part of this unique effort, we partnered with our friends at GovLoop, the social network for federal employees, to engage the 30,000-plus members of that expanding online universe as well. GovLoop founder Steve Ressler and community manager Andrew Krzmarzick helped us frame the six debate topics that form the basis of the project. Then we invited all comers.

To help stimulate the conversation, we asked six experts from the IT community to post an online essay that took a side in favor of a debate topic, or, as the case may be, took exception to it.

The conversations you’ll read here are both critical and supportive, earnest and funny, and always provocative. What we learned while undertaking this project is important: The best contributions don’t just show up at your doorstep. They come when beckoned, encouraged, reminded and nudged. In other words, with the explicit intervention of people like Krzmarzick and our own director of community, John Stein Monroe.

Indeed, John Monroe is as experienced a technology editor as you’ll find. He’s been writing and editing here for 17 years now, serving in a variety of roles. Being in charge of user-generated content may be his ultimate journalistic calling, however, because he understands the nature of it so well. He writes the Federal Insider blog on FCW.com, where he regularly highlights reader comments. On this page you’ll find his choices for the Top 10 definitions of Gov 2.0, as submitted, of course, by readers like you.

About the Author

David Rapp is editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week and VP of content for 1105 Government Information Group.

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