No references here, all from my own experience and point of view, but it is meant to give a start for looking up references: Starting with a definition of electronics. It comes from electron tubes (vacuum tubes) which are active devices able to amplify and using a stream of electrons. One of the last to survive was the cathode ray tube on TV sets. Now obsolete too. This has carried through to transistors and later developments like integrated circuits including computer chips which all use active "electronic" components. This is opposed to electrical systems like generators, motors, transformers etc used in association with electrical power. Nevertheless there are common principles to do with the non-active (passive) components and electrical effects like inductors, resistors, transformers and capacitors, involved in both fields. A short history: Electronic devices started to appear in domestic situations as radios after WW1 (1920s). No doubt they had an effect on social activities because people moved from self entertaining like card games, chess, music and singing to "listening to the radio". Commercially radio was used for communications too, and electronics was widely used in telephone systems (long distance). From the earliest radio systems on ships and aircraft enhanced safety at sea and in the air. Land based communications meant a change from earlier telegraph systems for national and international communications. With WW2 great advances occurred, especially in fields like radio, radar, and other navigation and communication systems. These made travel safer, especially on aircraft and ships. During this period electronics was not so widely used in industry, but specialized instruments did exist, and were especially used by researchers. Probably automatic telephone exchanges were one of the sof electro-mechanical automation, but there was not much electronics involved. After WW2 television started to appear in most countries. I well remember how TV stopped social activities like weekly dances dead in my region, even going to the movies was severely reduced, almost overnight. Transistors were developed from 1948, though similar devices had been discovered in the past but were not well understood. These started to appear in portable radios and record players by the mid 1950s. Initially expensive, they reduced the cost and size and had better power consumption. Everything became solid state or transistorized. During the late 1960s integrated circuits appeared, with further size and cost reductions becoming regular. People could have their own tape recorder. The improvement of world wide communications with satellites and fiber optics made international communications much cheaper and more widespread, and led to the internet. Integrated circuits led to digital systems and better and better computers at much lower cost. During the 1970s the benefits of technology developed during the "space race" appeared. We found the first satellite navigation, fly by wire aircraft during this time. The fledgling internet appeared toward the end of the 1970s. So did "computer on a chip" as the level of integrated circuits improved, and these led to the ubiquitous "IBM PC", though Apple and others were around too. Video recording became possible at home. These things meant much better communications, safety and more and more entertainment based on electronic devices. At this time TV was the essential entertainment. As the internet developed there was a parallel development of mobile phones, which became smaller of course, and then the competitions between various media to capture the business using mobile devices, so phones, computers, GPS navigation, music and video, cameras, and even sensors have all combined in various ways to produce the current field of iPhones, Notebooks, iPods, and the various others. Social Effects: The effects of this plethora of devices is that people have more communication, computing, and information at their fingertips, and on the go. How do we use these things? The same way as other eras. There is just more of it. In a sense we have access to a huge library for information, we can read the news, even as trivial as someone lost their cat, or publish our views, or be overwhelmed with soap box views of the world from others, all more than ever. We can be entertained, even if much of this is also trivial. Soap operas, movies, books even are moving away from the printed form. We are also more monitored, whether for commercial reasons or not. I guess that we have access to all this as never before, and it can be a force for truth, or nonsense. We still have to filter it. We still need an education so we can separate truth. There is no field that electronics, especially in the form of communications, computers, control systems, and entertainment has not affected strongly in the last 20 years. It is changing health, safety, the workplace, what jobs are available, who makes money and how, and yes, warfare. It is changing society in many ways, yet in some ways society resists such change. People are still as they always were. Looking back to ancient times (BCE), books by Greeks and Romans show surprising similarities. Looking ahead, I suppose the future holds ever higher levels of automation. This applies to manufacturing, cars, and household help, and I wouldn t be surprised to find companionship robots even.