From the very beginning it has been clear that the most unambiguously valuable facility provided by the net is e-mail. That would seem to hold for current users as it did for the ARPANET pioneers. [...] Other uses such as the creation of a virtual social community seem to have less, if any, purpose except as a sort of hobby.
Beyond the hype, the Internet was just another network. This is to say its social effects could (and would) be as profound as, for example, those of that far more ubiquitous network, the telephone. As profound... and as unrevolutionary.
Winston, Brian (1998): Media Technology and Society. A History: From the Telegraph to the Internet. London and New York. 335-6.