Opinion: Happy birthday world wide web

As we celebrate 25 years of the World Wide Web, or Mesh, as it was first conceived by Sir Tim Berners-Lee in 1989, when he was a 34 year old physics graduate.

By Sarge, Lanway CBS.
To the uninitiated and the “always on” generation, that have grown up in a world where the Internet is omnipresent, the early beginnings of the web bore no resemblance to the slick, media rich, content driven place it is today.

In fact its origins were very humble indeed, with the main concept being to provide improved communications for the thousands of scientists involved with CERN.

The original idea was all but dismissed by his boss, Mike Sendall, when Sir Tim presented him with a document entitled “Information Management: A Proposal”, but undeterred he pressed on and went on to write the HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP), HyperText Markup Language (HTML), the and the first ever web browser WorldWideWeb.

It was the creation of these three things that became the very foundation of the Internet as we know it today and when CERN allowed the technology to be freely used in 1993, the floodgates opened. Within a few years millions of people were on-board, seeing the Internet grow at an exponential rate and in the years since then we have seen dotcom empires come and go, the rise of social media and the creation of the “always on” society.

There are now billions of people and more than 600 million websites “on-line”, with millions of messages and more than 20 million pictures exchanged every minute, not to mention the billions spent by the on-line consumer, it still amazes me that over half of the UK population, (33m), actively log in to Facebook every month, with 24m of those using it daily.

There is a whole other blog I could write on the phenomenal statistics that have grown up around social media and the staggering amount of data that sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram consume on a daily basis, but I’ll save that for another day.

Where the real growth has come and where the Internet really comes into its own, was with the advent of mobile data and devices such as Smart Phones and Tablets, which really show the power of what the possibilities are and could be in the future. The combination of these elements have completely transformed how we work, communicate and consume the constant flow of media that is available to us 24x7x365 and the transfer of information is all but instant.

I, like many of my peers, am old enough to remember when we lived in a very different world, where phones were static objects, tv’s where big and bulky and only had 3 channels, mail was something you put in the post and tablets where something you got from the doctor when you were ill. But I for one am a huge advocate of the “always on” society, the internet and the freedom that the devices it has spawned has given us and am always eager to see the latest developments, always looking to the future with excitement at the possibilities of what could be.

So let’s raise a glass and give three cheers to Sir Tim and his invention that has forever changed the world beyond recognition and will continue to shape the future of how we live and work. Happy birthday, world wide web.