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The Feds Discover Social Networking

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[ Social Media]

Relax, the Bush Administration isn’t trying to invade MySpace; instead, another group has erected a private playground called YoungFeds for the Administration’s less-than-geriatric staffers to enjoy.

Mashable’s Pete Cashmore pointed out the nascent MySpace clone populating the Internet. The new site, called YoungFeds.org, describes itself as “an online and live destination for young professionals working in and with the federal government to meet, network and advance.”

Maybe going to Georgetown Law means you don’t hear about places like MySpace, Facebook, Friendster, Live Journal, Xanga, Multiply, or any one of Yahoo’s seemingly endless social networking locations on the vast Internet. It doesn’t seem likely though.

There is a single post on the site’s blog, posted by GoodGovGuy welcoming visitors to the site. GGG wrote that the new site is an effort of the Council for Excellence in Government.

If you’re as cynical as the typical hack writer, the first thing that entered your mind just then was, “Council for Excellence in Government? Must have just launched.” It actually debuted in 1983, but asking when they might get started would probably be rude.

Geico supports the YoungFeds.org site too. I learned something new, namely that Geico wasn’t the name of a CGI gecko, but an acronym for Government Employees Insurance Company. Geico is one of Warren Buffett’s centerpieces in the Berkshire Hathaway cornucopia of companies, so there’s a pretty good chance my tax dollars have helped fund some of Buffett’s and Bill Gates’ bridge games.

One feature of YoungFeds.org, the 35 < 35 group, forms an advisory board for the site. These are 35 people under the age of 35 described as "a group of informal advisors who help us with content ideas, write articles and opinion pieces, and even "guest blog" for us." They come from a variety of federal agencies, including Cabinet-level departments.

The social networking features one might expect to see, like personal profiles, don't seem to have a place on the site. It's kind of hard to "meet, network, and advance" when the closest thing to a social networking tool seems to be the calendar listing a Young Government Leaders event at Health & Human Services tomorrow night.

Maybe they have a lot of functionality under the hood that we civilians can't see. But if the inside is like the outside of YoungFeds.org, they need to bring a couple of extreme programmers in-house who know Yahoo well and can plug in all kinds of social networking API and widget goodness into the site.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

The Feds Discover Social Networking
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