Public authorities mainly use social media to communicate with citizens. But they can also use networks like Twitter and LinkedIn to link people with expertise within the public sector. Unfortunately we still know little about how public officials use social media in this context. This article reports new research findings about these networks, from a study of tweets from the Twitter hashtag #localgov. We find that the pattern and direction of Twitter communication in government itself facilitates internal networking while reflecting the structure of power in the British state.
Every two years, Oxford’s Internet Institute runs the Internet, Politics, and Policy (IPP) conference. This year, the conference looked at crowdsourcing. The purpose was to inform policy debates as well as to advance social science research. New work was presented on crowdfunding, crowdlabour (see the Amazon Mechanical Turk) and government crowdsourcing. Research in the area is now less impressed by the size and power of the crowds and more interested in the composition of the crowds and in people’s motivation to join them. For example, the Zoouniverse platform is an impressive collection of citizen science websites. Visitors to the site can help research by classify galaxies according to their shape, because people are often better at pattern recognition than algorithms are. Nevertheless, it is hard to sustain crowdsourcing initiatives. You can find more detailed reflections from the conference and a full list of papers here.