The Future of Social Media at the National Archives

Alex Howard | O'Reilly Radar | November 18, 2011

In November 2011, conversations about connection technologies have shifted from whether governments should use social media to how governments should use social media. Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and YouTube are part of the default template for the websites of newly elected officials.

As the year comes to an end, the risks and rewards of Web 2.0 are better known for both citizens and government alike. People from every walk of life naturally have questions about what the explosion of social media will mean for the future of society, including difficult questions about what this new landscape will mean for privacy, security, freedom of expression and online identity. Predictions about what the future of social media will mean for an increasingly networked society range from dystopian autocracies with pervasive surveillance to stronger, data-driven digital democracies. Or both.

It's in that context that the National Archives recently convened a conversation about "What's Next?" at the McGowan Theater in its headquarters in Washington, D.C...