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Similarly, should I reply here, on the mailing list, or via my blog? :) Here will do, I guess. Feel free to re-post this reply anywhere...

"Will social networks change politics?" Or rather, will politics change social networks?

I suggested earlier this week that social networks - especially those that are built on top of more media-centric ideas - will become more "purposed", integrated with content and hardware providers. I suspect the same idea can be applied along competitive political lines - in both cases, popularity of the "product" is attached inherently to the service provider rather than to the content being produced (in the same way Flickr and YouTube are valued now, but with more control).

The second aspect is the possibly hypothetical belief that all people come together in social network spaces. In reality, it seems to me that social networking spaces usually etsbalish and.or encourage borders to spring up between people - either according to the service that people choose to use (e.g. MySpace or Tribe) or in the spheres they interact with - i.e. users tend to prefer finding people of similar persuasion, rather than exploring a diverse range of opinions. I wonder if either of these are at odds with the Tory's apparent aim of getting people to interact with not each other, but with the party-cum-service provider.

In short, the question is: is this really a workable/feasible approach to developing policies? Or is it just the adoption of more buzz, in what could actually turn out to simply be a lame "viral" marketing stunt? What will it do that less viral, but more diverse communication methods (such as forums and mailing lists) can't achieve?

Polzoo.com is a political social networking site. The focus is to create good content, spur discussion and connect members. The site is still in beta testing but loose ends will be wrapped up soon.

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