Clive Thompson has an insightful piece in the Sept. 7, 2008, New York Times Sunday Magazine, called "Brave New World of Digital Intimacy," which specifically addressed why on earth anyone would want to use Facebook and Twitter.
Thompson points to the rise of "ambient intimacy" that accompanies the details of life online.
Each little update — each individual bit of social information — is insignificant on its own, even supremely mundane. But taken together, over time, the little snippets coalesce into a surprisingly sophisticated portrait of your friends’ and family members’ lives, like thousands of dots making a pointillist painting.
While not a business application of social media, I think it's helpful to see the social implications of these new tools, because our audiences (well, that set of our audience who are under 30) are using or will be using these services.
You can read the entire article here
or the takeaway points at social media consultant Alan Wolk's blog here