Monday, October 12, 2015

Facebook Group “FC 66” – an Online Community

“FC 66”, an acronym for “Foundation Course 66”, is a Facebook Group, of which I am an active member. It’s a closed group of officers of Government of India who did 66th foundation course together (243 in no., in the year 1999). In India, after clearing the Civil services exam, all the officers belonging to different services, are required to do a foundation course before joining their respective services. The aim of the foundation course is to promote ‘esprit de corps’ amongst the various services officers. 

FC 66 group was created by one of our batchmates in the year 2009. The initial aim of the group was to get connected to the batchmates and to have a get together on completion of the decade of the foundation course. The response that this group received was overwhelming. It was the tool for many of us to get in touch with batchmates with whom we had almost lost contact. It created a lot nostalgia, which was the moving force for the group initially. However, soon the community ideas of belongingness, sharing, concern for others and promoting common interests became the strength of this facebook group. Members shared their success stories in respective areas of work, their ideas about current national and international issues, challenges of bureaucracy and many more things.

What makes this group a real community was the concern for other members. Just a post in fc 66 that a member needs any support or clarification on any issue, there would be a lot of prompt replies. When I was to join the Central Government ministry at Delhi (Capital of India), I just posted that I need help for getting admission for my kids in a good school (One of the toughest things in a place like Delhi). A lot of advices and offers of help poured in from members of FC 66 group posted at Delhi, which made me feel as I am having an extended family at Delhi.

It was in this group that one of the members floated an idea of having a welfare association to help any of our batchmate, who is in distress. After lot of discussions and exchange of ideas in the FC 66 group, it was finally decided to have an Officers welfare association of our batch. The result was creation of “Civil Services Officers Welfare Association of 1999 batch” – the first of its kind of association in India, of officers from all the services having just one thing in common i.e. their batch. All this became possible because of availability of FC 66 group. Today FC 66 group has 181 members. For me FC 66 group is not just a virtual community but a real community, which is actually promoting the esprit de corps amongst its members.

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