Re: Slow learners
"Had we all had to pay for email and search and social messaging etc right from the start"
As regards email we generally do pay for email even if we don't all use the paid-for provision. All ISPs I've used included email in the bundle. People who've been burned by finding it ties them to an ISP they want to leave will then usually turn to Gmail or the relentlessly rebranded Microsoft option.
On the broader point having to pay for an ISP still excludes the poorer who may then have to make use of some public facility such as a library. For these the free email providers are essential.
Given email I remain unconvinced that so-called social messaging adds anything useful.