I have just read this http://www.silicon.com/publicsector/0,3800010403,39325058,00.htm?r=2
This point of view is fundamentally flawed and forgets that “government” is the action of authority, and that it imposes jurisdiction without unanimous, majority or even minority consensus. Where as the social network is the interaction of individuals with other individuals using technology.
The responsibility of government is to improve the lives of individuals via the application of abstraction i.e. legislation against cigarette advertising. Its judgements are guided by the research that it commissions, or secret information that it gathers.
Today the contents of the social network is massively influenced by the intelligentsia, who are the early adaptors of the technology, but tomorrow it will have mass market adoption.
Information and recommendations that can be derived from the contents of a social network will tomorrow reflect the reactionary majority view. It would be dangerous and irresponsible to allow research and policy to be solely guided by such networks.
The eminent thinkers of my great nation have a long and checked history of engineering large scale social change, and engineering large scale … errr … engineering.
We are behind many of the “isums” and machines that have shaped the world. Our age sees the direct conjunction of the two. I can not predict the outcome of this union, but it is a safe bet that the UK will first see the changes.