Two recently launched studies are dealing with the impact of social computing applications on government services, economics and society.
The JRC-IPTS (Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, Institute for Prospective Technological Services) aims to provide customer-driven support to the EU policy-making process by developing science-based responses to policy challenges. The Centre has launched two reports which can be fully downloaded from their website.
Public Services 2.0
The study “Public Services 2.0: The Impact of Social Computing on Public Services” is focusing on the rise of the social web and trends in public services. Emphasis is on the impact of social computing on key areas like policy, organissation and law. Future opportunities and risks are also addressed. It provides an exhaustive literature review of research and practice in the area of Social Computing and identifies its key impact areas in the public sector.
Enhancing social capital through social networks
The report “The Impact of Social Computing on the EU Information Society and Economy” provides a systematic empirical assessment of the creation, use and adoption of specific social computing applications and its impact on industry, personal identity, learning, social inclusion, healthcare and public health, and government services and public governance. The study sums up questions like “What is Social Computing?” and provides ideas on enhancing users’ social capital by enabling the multiplication of interactions between offline and online societies. The use of social networks can also contribute to the development of the cultural capital of disadvantaged people and broaden the access to digital content.
Studies on the broad impact of social computing in the public sector are scarce. Apart from examinations of specific computing applications in a public sector, most studies do not examine the generic social computing trend and its effect. The authors also claim that there is a broader theoretical background needed. Further research on digital evolutions should address these gaps.