Of the three main drivers of internet culture-blogs, social networking sites and forums-most people in the media and in the general Internet-using public only understand two. Blogs work in a very obvious way: they're like magazines or newspapers, but light. Information spreads from blog to blog up and down the food chain, but it's pretty traceable. Social networks work in a different but equally obvious way: they're like real-world word of mouth, but easier to track, though still much tougher to control or predict than blogs.
But forums can be inscrutable to outsiders. And they get far less attention than the other two culture-drivers. "Everyone" uses Facebook and Twitter, [...]