"We see examples of civic participation, but it's divorced from government itself," she said. "We see example of how government responds to complaints...but they don't engage people in the process, nor do they track progress."
In other words, the marriage of social networks and government has been pretty much a one-way street so far. Lots of "noise" coming in, but very little in the way of collaborative solutions, based on citizen participation, coming out.
Noveck mentioned several efforts underway to resolve this new conundrum, including Harvard University Group Brain Project and the U.S. Patent Office's Peer-to-Patent Project, which is designed to reduce the enormous backlog of patent reviews that is costing the government huge sums in litigation costs. The Peer-to Patent project is attempting to link volunteer scientists, using social networking tools, with patents under review to speed up the application process."