I had dinner with two friends last week and eventually the conversation came around to the Web (I generally try to avoid the topic in polite conversation but what can you do?). Anyone overhearing our conversation might have thought we were a trio of hopeless geeks, or digerati wannabes, but the truth was we really weren't talking about the Web. The topics were what we had read on the Web, the same way we'd talk about the content of any other media. The fact that we could do so without acknowledging the media itself seemed encouraging

Conversations often cluster entertainment and media. "Didja see that weird show on TV last night?" "What did you think of that editorial on Sunday?" These can be springboards into deeper conversations.

Many Webmasters have made their sites "sticky," a quality that advertisers love, by opening chat rooms and bulletin boards linked to articles or issues. Some of the most popular cyberspots can be found at media sites' interactive annexes. Aside from being a good way to monitor their audience, these Web sites are using the aggregation of like-minded individuals to harvest the rewards of "communities" -- or at least that's the ideal. Net users go to Salon's Table Talk or the Gaming Zone's chat rooms for a certain context and level of dialogue.