I'm curious to know whether there is any repercussion for local bloggers/ Photoshop enthusiasts in Russia for producing such content. The South African government tends to be a touch over-sensitive on such content (consider, for one, the example of artist Brett Murray's rip-off of Lenin's campaign poster last year - http://www.wonkie.com/2012/05/24/the-spear-of-jacob-zuma-photo/ - government actually pressed charges against the art gallery for displaying the painting). It seems, from your article, that Putin is more inclined to take it in his stride.
The Saudi Twitter stats in Figure 28 lie an order of magnitude above any other country in the region... I would be curious to know your guess (or insight!) as to why that medium has taken off so aggressively. My take is because it's a lot easier to tweet on your mobile than to use facebook and given the mobile penetration in Saudi, that would be consistent. I would also be curious to know the age demographic of the Twitter users - that might be more indicative of whether it's a passing fad or something that's going to last for some time.
I think it would be difficult to sensibly consolidate reporting on social media activity across all applications (by applications I mean Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube etc).. each social media outlet has a different focus and different sorts of content gravitate towards that application. E.g. YouTube is likely to be sharing medium of choice for video but not necessarily so for a quick snippet on breaking news. Reporting social media performance by application would make much more sense.
Even a hint of common sense would suggest that the danger is very real, and that one might not return should one take on such a challenge. I suppose as long as the potential rewards are there, there will always be naive risk takers willing to 'give the war a go'.
In terms of disseminating information it's a different matter altogether. Knowing how connected an individual is within a network is definitely invaluable. Consider the power such information can have in the context of the US elections for example - critiques of either candidate in articles like http://newsview.co.za/us-elections-2012/ or other notifications about the process itself could be distributed to key individuals who could facilitate the message going viral (supposing it's interesting or topical enough!). The same applies to commercial applications like distributing marketing messages. Collecting information inductively through a view of the network is much more difficult.
A similar challenge of fragmentation you mention was there on the mobile platform many years back... made it quite a nightmare for both content providers and app developers for mobiles. Convergence to some standard I believe is inevitable as some dominant platform always emerges. I think the greater challenge lies in design for useability and quick take-up.
Hopefully the coverage continues to be as good over the Paralympics... especially looking forward to seeing Oscar Pistorius running - a pity he did not win anything a couple of weeks back - what an inspiration that would have been for other physically challenged individuals, let alone athletes!