Twitter caused a twitstorm two days ago, when it stopped users from being able to see when their friends replied to strangers.'s Basheera Khan suggests Twitter could have learned from Alastair Reynolds' space opera.

She writes:

In some sense it reminds me of Welsh scifi supremo Alastair Reynolds' futuristic vision of one faction of the human race. In his Revelation Space universe, a branch of humanity has evolved with democratic anarchy at the core of its political system, embedded into daily life via a neural implant which constantly polls the user's opinion on aspects of life in the Demarchy. Demarchists are so used to this prompting that they give it as much active attention as you or I might pay to ambient noise - and yet they're constantly contributing to the relatively smooth running of their world.

Okay, so, we're a ways away from the neural implants as a communications channel, but the principle that members of a community should be able to vote on changes that will fundamentally alter the dynamics of said community is not a novel one. Nor is it unheard of in the modern world to involve the user community in a process of discussion and collaboration that feeds back into the iterative development of a product or in the case of government, a body of laws. I just wonder when companies like Twitter or Facebook will catch the wake up needed for them to get in on this action too.