I have been thinking over the past couple of days how much things have changed online in the past several months. Social networks have gone from early adoption stage to pretty mainstream, and now the early adopters of business are starting to really grab hold of social media as a way to enhance their online presence. Within the next little while, the business community at large is going to start to catch on in a big way and then it’s going to really get interesting.

Along with this shift has come a shift in the way that people use the Internet. For example, online media and communications wizard Jeff Pulver talks here about how he uses Facebook as a business communication tool. Lots of people, like Collective Thoughts’ Brian Wallace are talking about why Twitter is so important to the new Web.

A year or so ago, my Internet experience was as follows. My home page was the Google Home page, in which I had customized widgets for reading the CBC News, my horoscope, TechCrunch, Wired Magazine and a few others I can’t remember. If I wanted to find information on something I went to Wikipedia. I chatted with people using Windows Messenger and Google Chat. If I was bored I hit the StumbleUpon button a lot and looked at some LOLcats and cute puppy pictures.

Today, my surfing experience is entirely different. My home page is Google Reader and I follow over a hundred blogs and I comment on several blogs a week. I write my own blog and people read it and comment often. I follow and connect with people on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pownce and FriendFeed, and I share lots of bookmarks in del.icio.us and lots of photos on Flickr.

Notice the words I used to describe my surfing habits a year ago. Reading, finding, looking, bored. Notice the words I used for today’s version of surfing. Following, commenting, connecting, writing, sharing. Which do YOU think sounds more fun and worthwhile?