It includes a lead feature by award-winning novelist John Lanchester, which doesn’t contain a lot of new insights, but provides a good overview of the topic for those who are less familiar with it. The ending though is thought-provoking:
“It struck me that everybody on the net is sitting alone at a computer screen, and many of them are wishing they weren’t alone, while also, often, in some deep way, preferring that they are alone and being nervous of the alternative. Sit someone at a computer screen and let it sink in that they are fully, definitively alone; then watch what happens. They will reach out for other people; but only part of the way. They will have “friends”, which are not the same thing as friends, and a lively online life, which is not the same thing as a social life; they will feel more connected, but they will be just as alone. Everybody sitting at a computer screen is alone. Everybody sitting at a computer screen is at the centre of the world. Everybody sitting at a computer screen, increasingly, wants everything to be all about them. This is our first glimpse of what people who grow up with the net will want from the net. One of the cleverest things about MySpace is the name.”
The Web 2.0 issue also contains a series of interviews of “the smartest and the luckiest entrepreneurs who demolished the old internet and built a brand new one”, i.e. the people behind the companies Bebo, Blogger, Craigslist, del.icio.us, Digg, Feedburner, Flickr, Last.fm, Netvibes, Technorati, Wikipedia, WordPress and Writely.