I have been driven by a problem for the last couple days; people are more and more commonly finding their personal connections online. Aside from Facebook, where every bit of a person's identity and personality is viewable by whomever they chose, what social networks exist for people?
One that I found was gather.com. This site allows people to find and read and comment on topics within certain groups. Most groups seem organized by topic or by singular interest. The difference between just a topic site and this type of social network seems to lie entirely in the ability of people to comment on posts by the other members.
It is that interaction (rather than just a place to read) that most people seek, but what of those of us who don't specifically seek out the ability to tell people how great or horrible they are. What of people who would rather let others alone and just read interesting and well-thought out articles?
I suppose it all boils down to this: what true value is there for people on online social networks?