In the late 1960s, the “Internet” – the original and most correct meaning of the term – was already in operation.
It was only in 1989 (yes 25 years ago!) that a computer programmer called Tim Berners-Lee created a way to easily link documents together online… thus creating a web of connecting pages that became the World Wide Web. He was just 36 years old… about my age now.
For a few years, the WWW looked like this…
But then along came Mosaic in 1993. It was not the first web browser, but it was the browser that popularised the world wide web and included features like icons, bookmarks, pictures and a more attractive interface which was easy to use. Non geek/nerdy people started to use it to communicate and access the data on the internet.
I was in high school at that time. I did a subject called Applied Computing and my teacher showed us how to use the “e-mail”.
I was utterly gobsmacked that I could send a letter over the computer!
Then by 1995, the internet went commercial and saw a rise of websites like ebay, Amazon, Geocities… followed by Hotmail and many more companies. Like they say, the rest is history!
I find it amazing that everything emerged and advanced so quickly. And I’m equally astonished by how the WWW had so quickly affected the way we do EVERYTHING.
By 1999, I had developed a friendship with a guy (now my husband) via the internet. This used to seem “weird”, but now, online dating, shopping, social media, news, smart phones, apps, online games… it all seems so completely normal. I literally can’t remember the last time I wrote an actual letter by hand, fold it up, slide it into an envelope and lick the stamp. I am sure my own kids never will.
But what is perhaps most amazing to me right now, is that while most of the the world’s population throughout the 1980s and 1990s was completely surprised by the “sudden” arrival of the internet, the famous science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke completely and accurately predicated all of this way back in 1974… check out the video link.
The video is an interview by the Australian Broadcast Corporation (in 1974), where Arthur C. Clarke talks about how computers will change the future for the everyday person. He shows the interviewer, and the interviewer’s son, a humungous computer which fills the whole room.
Basically, he says that in 2001, people will have their own computer in their house, a small compact console, that can talk to other computers. They will be able to get information for their everyday needs like bank statements, theater reservations, and other things people need for living in a complex society. And they will take it for granted as much as we take the telephone.
Can you imagine what was going through the mind of the interviewer – This old guy is batshitcrazy!! What kind of freaky shit is he talking about?!
Here are some other interesting articles for your perusal:
Six Revisions – The History of the Internet in a Nutshell
Wikipedia – History of the Internet
W3 – A Little History of the World Wide Web
Telegraph – How the web was born: WWW Turns 25
Internet Society – A Brief History