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 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.
The world wide web is now 25 years old. Which makes you wonder how we shared cat videos 26 years ago.
— Aaron Levie (@levie) March 12, 2014
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.
It is very much *not* the 25th birthday of the Internet. Just the web #pedant
— Mary Branscombe (@marypcbuk) March 12, 2014
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.
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 turns 25 today, and I’d like to thank it for pretty much everything.
— dan sinker (@dansinker) March 12, 2014
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.
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.
— The Web Foundation (@webfoundation) March 12, 2014
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. But I still believe there are more reasons to be thankful than to be concerned.
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 for no apparent reason, useless websites which don’t need to exist but still do. This is what makes the Web great.
The web has been around for 25 years. Looking back, I wish I had invested more in Apple, Google, and hand lotion.
— Dave Pell (@davepell) March 13, 2014
And then there is MakeUseOf. 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.
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