In 2008 Steve founded GovLoop.com – currently the most successful social network for civil servants and people interested in public administrations.
PEP-NET: Steve, can you explain in a few sentences what Govloop is all about?
Steve Ressler: GovLoop is the “Facebook for Government” – a social network connecting almost 30,000 public sector innovators to share best practices and ideas to improve government. Membership is free and check it out at govloop.com.
PEP-NET: How did you manage to make the network that popular?
Steve Ressler: I never imagined it would be 30,000 members when it started. I think it became popular for a few reasons:
- It serves a need that isn’t been met. The need to collaborate among gov’t peers. And when people saw it they told their friends.
- We always have fun and be authentic.
- We continue to listen to the community every day and make changes to meet their needs.
- One of the benefits of the GovLoop platform is that public administrations worldwide can exchange best practices.
PEP-NET: Has the GovLoop model itself been adopted elsewhere?
Steve Ressler: GovLoop has a pretty active international presence on GovLoop itself from
countries like Canada to New Zealand. Additionally, the GovLoop model has been replicated in numerous countries including Australia, Netherlands, Brazil, and Israel.
PEP-NET: Are there particular countries amongst which international collaboration and replication are easier, e.g. Commonwealth countries?
Steve Ressler: On GovLoop itself, we have better luck fostering collaboration amongst English-speaking countries as we have not enabled perfect translation. In general, I think social network and collaboration works better in countries where individuals feel the ability to step out and share your ideas.
PEP-NET: Was/is there resistance to GovLoop and how have you/do you overcome it?
Steve Ressler: The major pushback I get on GovLoop is “I already have too many social networks” and “I don’t think social media is valuable.” Honestly, this comes mainly from people who have never been to the site and this opinion reverses when I actually show people what they are doing and show them a number of conversations going on work-related. I think people are still grappling with social media and managing multiple demands. But if a site like GovLoop makes your job easier and better, that’s usually all they need.
PEP-NET: GovLoop thrives on collaboration, as opposed to competition. Is there still room for competitiveness? Is there still a place for benchmarking?
Steve Ressler: There is always room for friendly competitiveness. On GovLoop, we have a top 100 rankings leaderboard for our most active members and there is a lot of competition to make that list. Additionally, we have a number of contests which encourage individuals to share and highlight great practices.
PEP-NET: Thanks a lot for taking the time for this interview and all the best for GovLoop!