…or why the iPod is not the end of civilisation as we know it:

In the Middle Ages, reading had been a
public, group experience; the rise of literacy rates and diffusion of
cheap books sparked worries that people would start reading and
thinking for themselves — and deviate from religious teachings.
Society survived, and people have found a way of reconnecting over
books: book clubs.

More recently, in the 1950s, people lamented that the transistor
radio would spell the end of families gathered around the radio; it
did, but it didn’t stop families from listening to music and talking
together. Parents were no longer able to prevent their children from
secretly listening to rock ‘n’ roll, or doo-wop, or even jazz, but that
hasn’t pulled families apart, either.

Some technologies even move from one extreme to the other. Parents
who used to worry that the personal computer would isolate their kids
now fret about them spending too much time instant messaging.

Link – midly irritating free registration required, easily subverted via bugmenot.