Does YouTube make people into exhibitionists? Does Facebook stunt teenagers' social skills? Does 43Things help people realize their dreams?
Journalists, academics and web surfers have been arguing over whether the Internet is Ultimate Good or Ultimate Evil long before the social web (a.k.a. "web 2.0") came along. But blogs, social networks and other kinds of online communities have raised the stakes and intensified the debate. Social web sites are more intensively interactive, and more socially connected, so they offer users an experience that is potentially more compelling (or in the view of Internet skeptics, distracting/disengaging) and (in the view of Internet boosters) more elevating, because they realize the Internet's potential for forging and deepening interpersonal and community connectedness.