I’ve been asked to give a talk on “Social Computing” to policy-makers and industry representatives here in Brussels.

My first reaction, when preparing the presentation, has been: again? I have been presenting about what it is, how it matters, what to do about it for the last 6 years. Is it still an interesting subject? Can I go on repeating the same presentations?

So what new approach could I take?

First thing, I wrote to a friend who’s supposed to attend about his expectations, and he said:

  • What is it?
  • Why did it develop so fast?
  • What are the benefits for citizens, business and government?
  • What is next?

So I thought well after 6 years of research, it’s a good time to have a long-term historical picture. To put social computing in perspective. So the title is “Social Computing: taking the long view”

The structure is as follows:

– what is social computing and how it is moving into “serious business” science 2.0, enterprise 2.0, gov 2.0

– its deep roots (Engelbart’s augmenting concept)

– its impact (positive and negative)

– its future (implicit web, web squared, gamification, making sense of data)

The final concept is that social computing is there to stay, that there is still much room for innovation, but it’s doubtful that Europe will lead on this unless changes are implemented.

So I recommend not to have a dramatic and high-profile “Horizons 2.0”; but a gradual and significant change in terms of openness, framework conditions (e.g. science career), and how research is funded.

What do you think? What are the key concepts you think should be conveyed?