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The Web recently turned 25, with this incredibly dense and diverse set of online destinations having been born in 1989. Much has changed in the intervening years, both online and offline, but the Web has grown stronger and stouter and now stands as a behemoth of vast proportions. I think it’s time to celebrate the Web in all its different forms. Party, anyone?

The Facts

The Web was born on March 12, 1989, when Tim Berners-Lee, a 34-year-old software engineer at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) wrote a proposal for “a universal linked information system,” which slowly morphed into the World Wide Web we know today.

Over the next few years Berners-Lee, along with other revered engineers, built all the tools needed for the Web to become a reality, including HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol), HTML (HyperText Markup Language), and the first browser.

The Web is, of course, a different thing entirely than the Internet. The Web being the collection of pages with HTTP addresses, the Internet being the computers, cables, and servers that digitally link all corners of the world. However, the Web is often referred to as the Internet, and only the most pedantic geeks worry about the labeling.

The Love

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There is much to love about the Web, as the video embedded above demonstrates. It has made the world a much smaller place, bringing humanity together in a way that was impossible just 25 years ago. You may not like everyone you meet online, but the fact you can even interact with them is a technological marvel.

The Web has changed the way we communicate, spread news, consume content, and generally live our lives. Without the Web we wouldn’t have Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, eBay, and Reddit; important websites we cannot live without 7 Most Important Websites We Can't Live Without 7 Most Important Websites We Can't Live Without The World Wide Web (now more commonly known simply as the Web) has been with us for over 20 years now, and in that relatively short space of time it has unequivocally changed the world.... Read More .

The Pessimism

There is a flipside to this rosy, optimistic view of the Web. As with everything that changes the way we live, there are negatives to counter the positives. Online trolls, the invasion of privacy, the ongoing battle against piracy, and more besides can be cited as reasons to be pessimistic.

Berners-Lee and the World Wide Web Consortium (WC3) aren’t wholly optimistic, using the 25th birthday of their invention to propose a Web bill of rights Internet Bill Of Rights, ASUS Chromebox, iOS 7.1, Between Two Ferns [Tech News Digest] Internet Bill Of Rights, ASUS Chromebox, iOS 7.1, Between Two Ferns [Tech News Digest] The Internet needs bill of rights, Xbox Live suffers Titanfall outage, ASUS Chromebox sells well on Amazon, Neil Young's PonoPlayer is Kickstarter hit, Apple releases iOS 7.1, and Barack Obama appears on Between Two Ferns. Read More . But I still believe there are more reasons to be thankful than to be concerned.

The Crazy

The reason I, and (I hope) many others love the Web is the truly crazy, awesome, inspiring things it has either generated or spread. Catchy songs uploaded to YouTube The Catchiest Songs On YouTube You'll Try Desperately To Forget [Weird & Wonderful Web] The Catchiest Songs On YouTube You'll Try Desperately To Forget [Weird & Wonderful Web] These are some of the catchiest songs ever uploaded to YouTube. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to listen to them all once more and decide the catchiest of them all. Read More for no apparent reason, useless websites which don’t need to exist but still do The Useless Web - StumbleUpon For The Strange Side Of The Internet The Useless Web - StumbleUpon For The Strange Side Of The Internet There are thought to be around 7.6 billion pages on the Web at the time of writing. Even I, someone who spends most of their life online in some capacity or other, would never be... Read More . This is what makes the Web great.

And then there is MakeUseOf X Seldom-known Awesome Tools To Optimize Windows X Seldom-known Awesome Tools To Optimize Windows Read More . Which exists for and because of the Web. And that right there is reason enough to be grateful to the people who created the Web and the rest for molding and shaping it into what it has now become.

Conclusions

The Web is far from perfect, but a world with the Web is still preferable to a world without the Web. So let’s celebrate the first 25 years and look forward to the next 25 years. One thing is for sure: the Web will be a vastly different animal in 2039.

Image Credit: Startup Stock Photos via Flickr

  1. Barmy Barney
    September 2, 2014 at 12:17 am

    1990 or 1991 at University. I was totally fascinated and amazed by it. I couldnt stay out of the cluster rooms and would be on the internet from morning till night most days, same now I guess

  2. Marc
    August 25, 2014 at 5:16 am

    1982. High school. We had a DEC PDP-8 with three terminals, a tape drive and a card reader. We also were connected to the outside. Just data sharing at that time. Some colleges mostly. After that, it was connecting to the BBS or billboard systems. Like most people, the first access to the modern internet was through AOL years later.

  3. Andy Lego
    August 12, 2014 at 2:21 am

    Ear;y 80's for me .... government networks

  4. Tim
    August 11, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    My first experience on internet was IRC chat and usenet 1995 at university. Before that I had only used BBS by phone.

  5. Ruth H
    August 11, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    I did it way before the web. When usenet allowed genealogist to reach out to each other mainly through user groups or some such. My first modem was one of the first extremely slow ones. I remember how fast we thought it was when we moved to the 1200. And what a miracle when we actually got a card for a modem in the next computer. Wow! I am 77 now and started computing on a Kaypro II but didn't have a modem till we got a Dell which did not even have a hard drive. It had two 5 1/4 drives. My son then sent me a small hard drive which I installed myself. I am now a 77 year old granny geek.

  6. Frank Bales
    August 11, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    1993 at the latest. Things sure have changed. Would we even have smart phones without the Internet?

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