It is interesting to see that the 'Introductions' threads on the CCK08 Moodle site seem to show that people are being drawn to each other on the basis of shared experience of "place". I know I have had a look around the map, for other people nearby too - although even while doing so, I could not imagine why it was important to me to know.
I have just been reading Wellman's Little boxes, Glocalization and Networked Individualism. I particularly like the discussion of specialized roles. In this section, Wellman uses scholarly academics as an example of how some people like to maintain contact through the written word (specifically email in this case) in order to be able to live their lives according to their own rhythm whilst still being able to communicate within a network of individuals.