Clay Shirky writes:
Small amounts of social file-sharing, by sending files as email attachments or uploading them to personal web servers, have always co-existed with the purpose-built file-sharing networks, but the two patterns may fuse as a result of the Crush the Connectors strategy. If that transition happens on a large scale, what might the future look like?
Most file-sharing would go on in groups from a half dozen to a few dozen — small enough that every member can know every other member by reputation. Most file-sharing would take place in the sorts of encrypted workspaces designed for business but adapted for this sort of social activity. Some users would be members of more than one space, thus linking several cells of users. The system would be far less densely interconnected than Kazaa or Gnutella are today, but would be more tightly connected than a simple set of social cells operating in isolation.
it is clear that the current environment favors the development and adoption of social and collaborative tools, which will go on to have effects well outside the domain of file-sharing, because once a tool is adopted for one purpose, it often takes on a life of its own, as its users press such social tools to new uses.