In the mid 90's a lot of media pundits were trying to say what the Internet, and more specifically the web, was all about - but no one really knew. Some compared it to television and some compared it to newspapers and others said it was most like the telephone because it behaved like a one-to- one communication media.
It looked like television because of the screen similarity, and it looked like newspapers because of the text content, and it acted like a phone conversation in how it behaved as a one-to- one communication media. All of these different metaphors missed the primary difference that the web brought into being and that was the search engine. Without a search engine email list the web would be as useless as a library without index cards. It would be a tangled mess of invisible and unsorted web sites, and the great pool of information would largely be invisible.
Search engines ground the web into a usable reality through the written word when a search is conducted, and then search engines became the eyes of web users for finding their way around in the depths and darkness of billions of web pages. Search engines give us social media In the same way that you and I search for information others search for other people and find their groups to belong to.