Squeaky adds her own take to the net.human.connectedness meme that's been floating about since Carteach0 caught a prime example, using a dead modem for bait.
It really is true: we gather in small, like-minded groups with niftily Heisenbergian boundries. Follow your friends' links far enough and doors you never even knew were there will open up -- and you've still got your own familiar place and pals as a touchstone. Isn't that pretty much how humans are wired up anyway? The 'net simply makes establishing that group of connections easier and faster and enables the margins to reach ever farther. Gee, who'd'a thunk: when we built a communications network, we modeled our own social networks so well they started mapping right over to it.
I date back to (commercial-access) Usenet, even FidoNet (even used a PLATO terminal a time or two as a child) and they worked in a similar way; cruder, louder, less personal, but still on the same basic model.
Awhile back, I was riffin' on a Cyril Kornbluth short story, "Ms. Found In A Chinese Fortune Cookie," in which he hints at some wonderful and powerful secret in the way our minds work that could be of benefit to all, a secret known to a select few and one that lands the narrator in no end of trouble (it's a yarn worth reading, so I shan't spoil it). The late Mr. Kornbluth was bluffing but we might just be onto something as powerful, though safer to know.
6 months ago