I have had a very polarised week so far with people expressing both extremes of "the web will change everything" to "the web changes nothing" and everything in between. This was partly focussed on a debate I took part in on Wikileaks and I have also started reading The Net Delusion: How Not to Liberate The World by Evgeny Morozov.
I guess my own feeling is that the web will change nothing until we use it for that propose but the way it enables us to do so is new. What matters is that people understand it and use it. Take it seriously to shape the world. Not just see it as another channel to consume.
I go back to the frequent comment that I am unreasonable expecting people to think, and say what they think - that some people prefer not to think. Is this true or is it that we have trained them that it is risky to think?
Does the web move us away from a mass to an ecology of niches and individuals or do we just become a disorganised and chaotic mob? Do we need ideologies or -isms? If we need organising principles who is to say which wins - democracy or authoritarianism? The web can enhance both.
Maybe thinking is too hard after all ...