TFCN (The Federal Contractor Network)
Empowering Federal Contractors through Collaboration and Web 2.0 Methodology -- In a time when online social networking is 10 miles wide and only 2 feet deep, one collabratory is quickly gaining ground in the Federal marketplace.
By: Ben Rowland
“99% of The Federal Contractor Network members are in the U.S. with the remaining 1% are contractors and military personnel currently working for the U.S. Government overseas – Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, etc.” commented Alexander George, the sites’ creator and a long-term contractor with expertise in information security. “In my mind, the greatest success has been the diversity TFCN has established in terms of its members’ skill sets and areas of expertise.”
Professionally diverse with small business and large contractors, independent contractors, recruiters, marketers, and other service providers, The Federal Contractor Network makes it easy to locate and communicate with potential business partners and like-minded individuals.
Visually oriented, TFCN uses an animated banner to shows pictures of members who are online. The main page of TFCN displays government news, the latest contract awards, blog posts, and an assortment of industry events.
Member benefits include a MyPage where members build a profile with a picture and professional information (if they want to). Members search other members, add friends, and start and join groups. They also blogs and upload content on a variety of training resources, insights, job opportunities and news.
While online, members spend most of their time checking their latest activity, replying to comments, searching for opportunities (business and social), meeting members, posting blogs, reading and researching, and posting content (documents, photos, videos, links, etc.). Points move members up the social ladder by posting new blogs, starting a group, sending an invitation, and adding a friend. Members move up the ladder from Rookie to Master as they interact and receive points.
With more than 130 groups, members have a lot to choose from. Diverse as the network itself, groups range from Government Contracts and Defense Industry New to Talent Acquisition and The Job Spot. There are groups on Homeland Security, legislation, veteran owned businesses, a mentor group, and even a social group that meets face-to-face for professional networking (aka, happy hour). Another feature of TFCN is the Teaming Database where companies post their information and search for teaming partners.
The Federal Contractor Network is also on the web at Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Application Programming Interface (API) technology is used to connect sites (called mash-ups) and transfer data in the form of member badges, content feeds, and site services. With an easy user interface, TFCN’s MyPage is customizable with RSS feeds from favorite websites or blogs.
Third-party applications such as ShopIt, a social “cash register” for e-commerce, and Twitter Tracker, where members can track “mentions”
Intuitive site navigation and a good search engine make The Federal Contractor Network an easy way to locate and reach out to peers, potential businesses partners, subject matter experts, and other service providers (accountant, lawyers, lobbyists, etc.) in the Federal marketplace. With a strong start, a huge potential audience, and a membership that is growing an average of 1 new member per hour, The Federal Contractor Network’s goal to empower Federal contractors is quickly being met.
Visit The Federal Contractor Network at: www.federalcontractor.ning.com