People use social networking tools to figure out who they can trust and rely on for decision making. By the end of this decade, power and influence will shift largely to those people with the best reputations and trust networks, from people with money and nominal power. That is, peer networks will confer legitimacy on people emerging from the grassroots.
This shift is already happening, gradually creating a new power and influence equilibrium with new checks and balances. It will seem dramatic when its tipping point occurs, even though we're living through it now.
Everyone gets a chance to participate in large or small ways, giving a voice to what we once called "the silent majority."