Twenty-five years ago, Sir Tim Berners-Lee put a destination on the World Wide Web. That destination was http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/theproject.html (also known as the World Wide Web Virtual Library). Yup, it was a simple and boring information page on the World Wide Web. It was a simple website, built in France for CERN, and set put into the ether of the internet on August 6, 1991. From that humble beginning, the internet grew from a few websites of mostly technical data to a force for social change and a distribution center for memes.
The internet itself goes back to the 1960s in the United States. ARPNET, the precursor to the internet we know today of Facebook and Amazon, was for academics and military within the US to share data and info quickly. It was built for the kinds of things that wouldn’t really work easily in a phone call but needed to be faster than snail mail. By the 1980s, academics were using it fairly widely to share basic science stuff.
Then, in 1991, we got the groundbreaking on websites. Before that it was mostly computer to computer data transfer. Now computers could go to an address – a destination where data would reside permanently for future use, accessible by people from all over. By 1993 we had one of the first webcomics, Doctor Fun, Bloomberg.com for financial news, GNN as one for the first commercial websites, and ALIWEB for your primitive searches. By 1994, we had pizza delivery online and the first political website. By 2016, nearly a billion people were on this weird thing that started as the World Wide Web.
Thank you, Tim, for making cat videos possible.