One man saw it coming: The Society section of the Guardian is 25 years old, and has trawled its archives to celebrate. The second piece on this page, from 1982, (scroll down) is particularly interesting:

Some insights into the effects of modern communications techniques have now come out of a five-year experiment by the New Jersey Institute of Technology into new ways of letting scientists share their results with each other.

Over 1,500 people were provided with terminals (usually like small telex machines) linked by phone line to a central computer, through which messages could be sent to anyone else on the network.

It was soon discovered that a whole new medium of communication had been invented, with impact not just on the participants’ work but on their whole lives, leading to new personal relationships, new working methods, dependence, addiction, and at least two divorces.