People always talk about Web 2.0 referring to websites which encourage user participation such as YouTube, MySpace, Wikipedia etc and this whole craze is helping us all.
I first started making websites in 2001 and whenever I mentioned I had a website I received "wow"s because having a website seemed out-of-reach to the average Joe. The Web 2.0 revolution has brought website creation into the hands of the masses even more than the likes of Geocities did.
The 'beauty' of sites like MySpace is that when someone joins, everyone around them feels obliged to join. A MySpace profile is a person's online presence much like a personal webpage is/was.
For some reason, MySpace seems much less intimidating to most people than HTML (many people appreciate having the skeleton made for them yet we nerds hate this :P) and the 'beauty' of the Wikipedia is that is provides a central point for information to easily be collated which can easily be corrected/added to (correcting something by clicking 'edit' requires much less effort than emailing the webmaster of a site!).
It's safe to say that a lot, if not most, Westerners (and no doubt Far Easterners) maintain a profile on a social networking site but how many maintain/maintained a personal webpage? You could argue the reason for increasing web presence is the growth of the Internet but you could also argue the increasing ease of establishing a presence (you don't need to find a host, find a HTML editor and get a domain etc) is also a contributing factor.
Although it helps identity fraudsters and is scary, the fact lots of people have an online presence only helps communication. If you forgot to ask for someone's email, you can simply search through MySpace and Facebook for it. Regardless of what the critics of the Wikipedia say, it's a fantastic way to quickly get some information or to get a list of sources (most articles will/should have a bibliography). What other source in the existence of the world has information on over 2,000,000 topics?
To be frank I still love looking at a simple HTML personal webpage or homepage for a piece of freeware as you can quickly get the link/information you're after but even creating an absolute barebone webpage like that requires some skill and would probably off-put newbies.
Web 2.0 is succeeding as it brings the power to share information over the Internet to the not-completely-tech-literate masses and gives those masses the ability to quickly find that information!http://joeanderson.co.uk/blog/2007/10/20/why-web-20-is-succeeding/