I think it was expected that the methodology of and enablers for and the individual's innovative uses would evolve Communities of Practice as time went on and people focused more and more on the right way to service the individual and community.
In the 90s, research was conducted and concluded that in order for a Community of Practice to thrive quickly, it was best to begin with a face-to-face meeting of the members in order to create and build trust, after which a community of remote users could move forward successfully. When this sort of launch did not occur, communities (in general) took longer to build that trust and get the community rolling (or - of course - many failed).
These current thoughts about CoPs was brought about by John Tropea at socialmediatoday, who blogged this past week about How relevant are communities of practice in a network age?
His focus is on "cross-functional group spaces to learn about a topic (*usually* comprised of people across different teams). I'm not referring to teams using CoP-like social software like Basecamp as a group space to coordiate and communicate tasks/project." I'm not so sure the evolution does not include both - long term.
It is very noticeable - you not only have your twitter network as your CoP, but other tools as well...like my weekly LinkedIn email notifying me of my network's changes and any questions posted and/or answered. You learn a lot about your network by the question asked and even more by the answers supplied.
Additionally, my college alumni site has started the same practice of sending me a weekly email showing posted questions/answers, comments, advice and general thoughts with the author of those messages.
The way in which people are using the tools available is evolving. The stated purpose of twitter is to post show comments related to what you are doing at that moment...and yet - it becomes a community of not just thoughts but the posing and answering of questions.
Well, as John Tropea points out, the focus is moving toward the individual and what they get out of the community and what they can contribute. You can be sure of more creative solutions coming.