I remember feeling a surge of hope when I read last year that social networking sites had surpassed porn in terms of Internet traffic. Good news, I thought — maybe we aren’t doomed to the hedonistic demise predicted by cultural historians. Perhaps this increasingly seductive technology could even deliver us to a finer place: a world with more genuine human connection.

Tiffiny Carlson

Surely it’s premature to declare social networking the savior of humanity, but adopters of “everyone-knows-you’re-a-dog-online” interaction reached critical mass in recent months, rendering the early Internet ideal of anonymity almost quaint. With more than 250 million users on Facebook alone, there’s no doubt we’re navigating a Web revolution unseen since “Google” cracked verb status.

Today, the operative verb is “friend.” In the parlance of Facebook, millions of people friend each other every day — and the more connections made, the fewer degrees of separation between everyone who parti