13. Social Networks on the Rise

Blogs constitute a distinct online phenomenon, but hardly an isolated one. In truth, blogs are inextricably knit into a much larger fabric of new web-based services and data repositories, all of which are sometimes lumped under the rubric Web 2.0.

It’s a clumsy coinage, one redolent of market-speak and hewing perhaps a bit too closely to an era of shrink-wrapped software packages and top-down distribution of wares, but, at least so far, the Web 2.0 label is sticking better than most of the other phrasings being thrown at this burgeoning suite of social networking applications.

The services offered are diverse, but they all share key characteristics. The applications reside on the Web rather than on individual computer ...

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