It seems to me that Howard’s [Rheingold’s] original insight which he called “smart mobs” is proving to be a fundamental phenomenon of the 21st century. Twittering does the smart mobbing/flocking at a granular level. Figuring it all out is ongoing, as this highlight from the [WSJ] article shows:
“It took us a while to figure out that it really was a big deal,” says Mr. Williams. It was at the annual South by Southwest tech conference/music festival in Austin, Texas, in March 2008, that the social power of Twitter came home to the co-founders. “I found myself watching groups of people twittering each other to coordinate their actions — which bar to go to, which speech to attend — and it was like seeing a flock of birds in motion,” says Mr. Stone.
It’s no accident that the Twitter logo contains a bird. Rheingold was early and right about smart mobs and their increasing influence.