Happy Birthday to the Internet – 25 years

It feels like it’s always been there. Most of us couldn’t live without it; it’s shaped our careers, how we communicate and even our culture. I’m talking about the King of the World who’s just turned 25; the Internet.

This invention re-shaped the culture of the entire world. It took only 4 years for 50 million of us to be on the web, it took our second best friend the TV over double that amount of time to reach the same mile-stone.

If you look back even just a few years you’ll be amazed at the leaps technology has made. Just think back to the turn of the millennium when the majority of the world stopped using dial-up. Most of us remember mum yelling at us to get off the Internet so she could use the phone before you’d even managed to get MSN to load. Now mum is yelling for you to help her figure out how the 4G on her phone works.

Not to mention that the internet has given birth to some of the most profitable industries in the world; gaming, dating, social media and web design to name a few. It’s also breathed new life into older institutions such as journalism, radio and TV. And of course where would any of us be without email, Google and Youtube?

The world was a lot simpler once and people would say that ignorance was bliss. The general public relied on journalists to know what was happening in the world and it was all a bit ‘out of our reach’. Then along came the Internet. A constant stream of free flowing information to keep us informed 24/7. We now have a generation of people more in tune with what’s happening, not just in their local community or country but around the world. They have the tools to get involved and engage with current news. 

It’s never been easier for everyone to have a voice and air their opinion. Not that this doesn’t have a down side too. People can now publicly share their concerns about current events, films and global news with like-minded people. Whether it’s through blogging or engaging with posts on social media, these discussions and opinions can resonate around the world and genuinely effect change in our society.

Not only can people find their voice online, they can find a community. Whether you’re into knitting buttons or bass-jumping, there’s a Facebook group, forum or chat room out there for you. Ultimately, the online world is a true democracy. It’s ruled by the people and never before has there been a place to exchange ideas and open up discussions so freely.

For a creative like myself, the Internet is a necessity. Back in the dark ages we’d have to rely completely on other people for our work to see the light of day, but now we can all have a blog, a YouTube channel or an online portfolio to show off our talents. There really is no denying the wealth of creativity that the Internet has sparked from Apps, games, web series, artwork, journalism and a whole host more. And yes maybe now the competition is steeper and the industry is over saturated but everyone has a chance. The Internet has made it an equal playing field, we can now make new connections via social networking, collaborating with other like-minded creatives across the world.

It’s one thing for an invention to change methods of communication or even create whole new industries but to change our language? Well, if you think of the Internet as a country and each country has its own language, all languages around the world are constantly evolving. English for example is a language that has always amalgamated words from other parts of the world. The Internet is no different.

When it first started to evolve we called it text speak. The first development of common tongue ‘Internish’. Us 90s kids remember the boredom cure that was MSN Messenger and teaching each other what BRB meant. That’s where it started; now we have LOL, Tweet, Hashtag and Selfie all worming their way into the Oxford dictionary never mind the “enter at your own risk” Urban dictionary. These words are so commonplace; it’s hard to remember a time when they weren’t common use.

It would be difficult to speculate on how the world would be now without the Internet. I daresay we’d be massively uncultured and certainly more ignorant. Times perhaps would not have changed quite so dramatically.

With all that it’s done for us let’s raise a glass to say; Internet you are the life-support that keeps our creative juices flowing and boredom at bay. You keep us connected to each other and personify freedom of speech. Happy Birthday.

Post by Holly Rihan, Social Peanut Copywriter