Happy 30th Birthday World Wide Web


Just a few thoughts about the old girl and how things have changed…

Wow so yesterday was the 30th birthday of the World Wide Web. Obviously it took some time to go from a proposal written by Tim Berners-Lee to what we call the internet today. I read that his supervisor wrote “Vague but exciting…” at the top of the document. 

happy birthday WWW

So is this going to catch on then?

It reminds me of the time I first heard mention of the internet. I was in my print studio and a friend had called me to discuss his new business; he needed a designer as he was setting up a website design company. This was back in late 1997 and when he explained that the internet would enable companies to share information and advertise all over the world, I apparently asked him “So is this going to catch on then?”; he reliably informed me that the Internet was going to be the next big thing. Well done Paul I think you might have been right. 

Well I took the design job and worked there for 11 months before moving on to what I hoped was bigger and better things. After 18 months selling, planning, designing and building (I wouldn’t call it developing) websites I went back to what I think I do best… running my own business. 

I remember that noise that the modem made as it connected via the phone line at 14.4kb/s or later at the positively explosive 28.8kb/s, or  trying to design and build websites with graphics that were tiny by today’s standards and structuring a website using tables; such fun…  

The rise and fall of giants

Yahoo seemed to own the world in 2004 raking in astronomical profits, they would surely dominate the internet for years to come, but it wasn’t soon after that the much simpler Google search came about… rather than paying for a position on a search engine your content helped you get there instead. It felt like Yahoo disappeared almost overnight as is the way with the internet. 

I suppose 2004 was also the start of social media as we know it now, with MySpace and then Facebook bringing a new way to communicate. Whether you like social media or not it has had a dramatic effect on nearly all of us, especially our children. 

One of the biggest areas of change caused by the internet has to be shopping; e-commerce is changing the physical nature of our high streets. It’s hard for specific types of businesses to compete with the internet, with the high street becoming more about service lead businesses rather than shops selling things. Love or hate them Amazon’s plan to lose millions before making billions seems to have worked for them rather well with them dominating internet sales. 

Easy Money!

Then there is my personal favourite; no it’s not what you are thinking… online gaming is now a job, you can play games all day on the internet and get paid to do so. Some streamers get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a month through online subscriptions, donations, sponsorship and merchandise; one of my favorites Shroud recently celebrated getting 100,000 subscribers! 

I’m looking to see what happens over the next few years. 

So once again happy birthday WWW. Love Julian