A simple concept that sometimes gets lost in all this discussion about mass collaboration and social networking is around perspective. More specifically, the perspective that the individual is the centre of the universe, and everything else revolves around them.
The concept of collaboration should not focus only on the "WE", but celebrate the "ME". In fact omission of this will lead to "group think" and inappropriate consensus building. For those designing social computing applications, the implication is that an attempt to build a "platform" without the ability to tailor the experience to the individual will only be partially successful.
We can start to see this adoption of user centralization blossoming in the Web 2.0 world as discussed by Bill Ives in his recent blog titled "Everyone in Web 2.0 Seems to be doing Profiles". Without this "profile" and understanding, your contributions are limited to your ambitions and efforts alone. Profiling, then starts address the "opportunity" aspects of engagement.
What if Wikipedia, had profiling information (or leveraged profile information from elsewhere), the casual reader may be alerted of an article that fits his profile that is either recently updated which they mind find of interest or they may be asked to help the cause by identifying articles that fit the profile but require more input or validation.
WIKIPEDIA HERE'S AN IDEA.....
I don't know about you, but I don't spend my Friday nights trying to find articles to update in Wikipedia. But I might be motivated to update an article if I was asked to do it and it fit my interests and expertise and was readily visible with no search required.
We should see more and more "profiles" being created into applications, and ultimately people will get frustrated by the numerous profiles they have to maintain, and perhaps that's where Google will jump in and create the ultimate profile and social graph. ;)