Resolution: Make an Online Community

Our goal in 2012 is to help government collaborate and exchange ideas.

by / December 20, 2011

Happy New Year! 2012 is here, and if the Mayans were right, this is it — so we’d better make the best of the next 12 months. As I write this, I sit in a surprisingly quiet corner of the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, having attended the Public CIO Technology Summit, an exceptional event that brought together local, state and federal government IT pros with industry representatives to discuss the important issues they face and will confront in the coming year.

What makes events like these successful is the fact that they foster communication. It’s such a simple concept, yet we all struggle with it. Many of our challenges could be overcome if we improved at communicating with one another.

When discussing what’s gone wrong in some project, you’ve no doubt heard the IT axiom: “It’s not a technology problem, it’s a people problem.” It’s repeated often, because it’s often true. And the people problem typically results from a lack of or breakdown in communication.

One of my goals for Government Technology and this year is to develop new and improved ways for our readers to communicate with us and vice versa. At the end of many events I attend, one comment routinely uttered is, “Let’s continue this discussion.” Everyone nods and agrees that it’s a grand idea, but that promised follow-up rarely materializes. I believe this is because — despite Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn — public-sector IT lacks an online gathering place. Sure, you can comment on a story or post to our Facebook page (which you don’t do nearly as much as I’d like), but those mediums don’t create the sort of online community I think many of you would find valuable.

So by the end of 2012, if Doomsday gives us a pass, I hope we’ll be able to transform into an online gathering place where you can do more than read stories. I want our site to be a place you visit to share, collaborate and exchange ideas — or even just vent about anything in government IT. But this is all just an idea I have. To get it out of my head and into reality, I need you to do some communicating. Let us know if this would be valuable to you. And involve yourself in our content by emailing writers about stories, posting comments and sharing your thoughts on Facebook. 

Our job is to deliver value to you in our editorial products. My hope in 2012 is that we’re able to do our job better than ever.


Chad Vander Veen

Chad Vander Veen previously served as the editor of FutureStructure, and the associate editor of Government Technology and Public CIO magazines.

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