I heard about this TED talk, and the first thought that came into my head was this (thanks to @shluthra) and I realised I didn’t have anything more to add!
I do have an anecdote, though, dating back to 2003 when @joannejacobs and me tried out a group blog for the first time with an MBA class (we published a paper on the subject in AJET the following year). In this class, one individual developed quite a following because of the high quality of their posts. The person in question had a Chinese name and I’m ashamed to say that — at this time — I did not know if they were male or female. It was quite a large class, and it only ran for six weeks, so I didn’t get to put a face to everybody’s name. At the end of the term, the mystery blogger — a mainland Chinese woman — stayed behind at the end of the last class to personally thank me for allowing her to participate! She was a very intelligent individual who had not been game enough enter into the verbal jousting with the group of extrovert Australian males that had tended to dominate proceeedings during in-class discussions.
The lesson I learnt from this is that, online, everyone has an equally loud voice. Importantly, people get to contribute who might otherwise not, and others in the group benefit considerably from their insights.