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Public Services 2.0: The Impact of Social Computing on Public Services

By Y. Punie, G. Misuraca, D. Osimo, N. Huijboom, T.A. van den Broek, V. Frissen and L. Kool

Abstract

Since 2003, the Internet has seen impressive growth in user-driven applications such as blogs, podcasts, wikis and social networking sites. This trend is referred to here as ‘social computing’ as online applications increasingly support the creation of value by social networks of people. The social computing trend has been recognised and monitored by the Institute for Prospective and Technological Studies (IPTS) over the past few years. IPTS observed a viral take up of social computing applications but – at the same time – a limited provision of citizen-centred public services by governments. Based on this observation, IPTS raised the question of what role social computing could play in generating public value. To answer this question, a more profound understanding of the impact of social computing on the public sector was required. Consequently, the key goal of the present research, commissioned by IPTS, is “to collect and analyse solid evidence, in order to qualify and quantify the significance of the social computing impact and to understand its implications.”5 A review of the literature on social computing shows that the phenomenon continues to grow in popularity and penetration across the globe. Users all over the world blog, network, tag and review. Social networking sites have entered the mainstream and now attract users across all generations and levels of society. Most users seem to assume a relatively passive role, although recent research shows that the number of active users may be significantly larger than the 1% rule used in most studies. The immense take up of social computing applications has clearly started to impact upon the private sector. New players have entered the news and entertainment 5 IPTS, Technical specifications, Call for Tenders J04/013/2007, Public Services 2.0: Social Computing and its implications for future public services. markets, and new business models are emerging rapidly. Current research shows that, in the public sector too, considerable impacts can be found. However, these impacts seem to be broader and more diverse, in line with the multifaceted character of government. The study identifies four categories of impact: political, socio-cultural, organisational and legal

Publisher: European commission
Year: 2010
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Provided by: NARCIS
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