I travel a lot for work, as a result I have made friends who live all over the world. I have good friends in Malaysia, France, Costa Rica, All over the USA. Family in the Phillipines, Indonesia, Ireland, Scotland, and again around the world. There is simply no way that I could afford to stay in touch with all these people via telephone. There is always snail mail, but it is nice to be able to send and recieve a letter the same day. My friend in Malaysia recently had her second child and was able to send me a photo of the baby a couple days later.
I would say that in effect it has sped up communications, allowing nearly instantaneous transmition of data that might otherwise be dated by the next time you would write a traditional letter.
On a proffessional level the improvements are also invaluable. I can send engineering drawings to be inspected and returned all within my lunch break, rather than waiting for days while FedEx or UPS carry them back and forth to my office.
On a side note isn't it funny that Americans entrust most of their shipping to a company called OOPS (UPS)?
Lastly, the internet provides a forum in which you can make friends/meet people that simply was not there 20 years ago. An example, Peter and Sam are coming here to NYC in a week or so. There would be very little chance that I would ever have had the opportunity to ever meet those two without such sites as this one.