Recently in the Lift Conference, I was in a workshop called Building Social Applications by Stowe Boyd. A very interesting workshop indeed, since it made me think a lot. Follow the link to get a nice resume by Stephanie.
One of the concepts mentioned was the "me first" principle: All social web is really focused in the individual, and not in the group. As individualism rules in our days, people will only participate in the social web if it has any benefit for them. What's in it for me?
I partly agree with that statement. I believe that is the absolute truth in our highly individualized modern society, but not so in the emergent post-modern society, where the tribe matters the most (more than myself). So, the dynamics for the teenagers of today may be very different, and that may result in much differences in the way we live the social internet.
Is it possible to make a social application where both societies feel welcome? Maybe it is. If we reward both the group and the individual, I think all of them will be included.