Businessweek has an article on social aspects of the Web. The article makes the point that
Call it the Social Web. Through the dot-com bubble and bust, one trend has never wavered. Every year, millions more people around the world are using the Internet to interact in more ways than ever before — to date, find old classmates, check on medical ailments and cures, to read and express alternative views of the news, and even to get live sales help online. It's happening at work as well: Want to check your 401(k), pay stub, or file an expense account? Increasingly, that's all on the Web.
I don't really think all this is revolutionary, though. IT and the Internet made business much much better, but it has yet to change our personal lives in a drastic way. Most of the things people do on their computer are things they could do before, now they are just quicker and easier (trade stocks, send letters, look up information, shop, etc.). It has changed how we do things, but not really what we do. That is what I am waiting for – the next level. I want to be able to do all these things without sitting in front of my computer. I want to be able to have software that can search the web and answer my questions for me, find references, know what I like, and just in general keep track of the monotonous things in my life so I am not bothered with them. This is why I am an optimist about technology and the future. I think the Bubble of the late 90s was due to a misperception of how much computers and the Internet had changed our lives. But that change is still coming, and those hopes and dreams of the last decade will still be fulfilled.