I simply cannot recommend highly enough Clay Shirky's new book, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations. He's been the "smartest guy in the room" when it comes to the internets for a while now, resisting the lure of hype while still appreciated the revolutionary changes we're all living through.
This particular passage struck me as an excellent summation of what Chapter Three is all about:
We are plainly witnessing a restructuring of the media businesses, but their suffering is not unique, it's prophetic. All businesses are media businesses, because whatever else they do, all businesses rely on the managing of information for two audiences -- employees and the world. The increase in the power of both individuals and groups, outside traditional organizational structures, is unprecedented. Many institutions we rely on today will not survive this change without significant alteration, and the more an institution or industry relies on information as its core product, the greater and more complete the change will be.
One of Shirky's overarching points is that any specific technology is only a small part of the equation. What's critical is that the technology is ubiquitous to the point of invisibility (as the web is rapidly becoming), and that new and helpful social practices emerge which make advantageous use of the new capabilities the technology offers.
Being a part of the Drupal community is fascinating in this respect because we are at once participating in an astounding phenomena (the peer-based production of an amazingly useful piece of software) and helping others use that tool, and the methods used to make the tool itself to pursue their objectives.
It's a jungle out here, but I wouldn't have it any other way.