Even in 2007 the number of new Internet users is still growing rapidly. The internet is dominated by newbies, not by experience. We are a long way from living in an "information age".
In the 1990's we expected that a cyber community would develop, and Howard Rheingold in particular wrote with passion about how that was happening. But in fact it hasn't happened. Nobody understands how the Internet is changing society.
Only a small fraction of all internet users know about a socially connected, co-operative and personally useful internet that they might become part of. This is the promise that virtually everyone in a modern society can claim, but very few do.
Effective use of peer to peer communication would pose challenges to non-democratic institutions, businesses and governments. But to date that potential is very thinly spread and ineffective.
People cannot get the best out of the internet unless they understand the need to join groups of like-minded people. The best way to do that is to join social networks. The growth of social networks is critical to making the Internet useful in our lives.
Peer to peer publishing of books and music appears to be a revolution that cannot be stopped. Commercial success from this source might finally make the "information age" possible.