Monday, February 16, 2009

Web 2.0 Love Fest: Get a Room

One way to measure the fervent enthusiasm and creative energy behind the current push to use technology to make government more accessible, responsive and transparent is the number of people who've signed up to attend next month's Government 2.0 Camp here in Washington. The event already has more than 450 registrants, and about 30 paying sponsors (this Web site among them). Now the organizers just need a place to hold this "unconference."

The purpose of the planned March 27-28 gathering is to discuss "using social media tools and Web 2.0 technologies to create a more effective, efficient and collaborative U.S. government on all levels (local, state, and federal)." It's too soon to say if a passionate crowd with nowhere to meet is a metaphor, but the list of those planning to attend is indeed diverse and impressive, including a sizable contingent from inside the alphabet soup of federal agencies and departments, as well as representatives from other levels of government -- from Arlington County, Va., to Washtenaw County, Mich. And there's no shortage of folks from the vendor and consulting community, including some of the biggest firms in the business.

I'm looking forward to seeing how BarCampish this really turns out to be. The idea grew out of a post-election discussion comparing notes on MiXT Media, a blog hosted by D.C.-area strategy and business consultant Maxine Teller (a former colleague of mine at Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive). Hats off to her and fellow organizers Peter Corbett and Mark Drapeau for the energy they've harnessed so far. They also have a helpful co-conspirator in Jeffrey Levy, director of Web communications at the Environmental Protection Agency and co-Chair of the Federal Web Managers Council's Social Media Subcouncil.

If you have any ideas for a Metro-accessible, rent-free venue that's available for a meeting this size, you can add it to the event wiki, of course. And you can follow developments via the Government 2.0 Club's group on GovLoop's Ning site, on LinkedIn and Facebook, and on Twitter, where you can see or contribute related posts using the #GOV20CAMP hashtag.

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