It seems clear that in the case of social activism one of the primary roles played by the net is simplifying logistics. Heard a report on NPR the other day that suggested that the internet has changed the process of peace protest among students because they can get the word out so quickly and effectively. Protests that once attracted only dozens now attract thousands.
It seems to me that there is a microtrend emerging that does this on a smaller scale for communities of interest. I first noticed this when I caught announcements for the International Python Meetup, and subsequently saw several others, many hosted by Meet Up. I wonder if this is a model that works. If so, it’s extremely interesting, even for an introvert like myself.