Today the World Wide Web will have woken up to breakfast in bed, cards a plenty and an array of presents including the obligatory pair of socks. Later it probably met with friends for coffee, a bit of shopping and then enjoyed a meal out with its significant other half in that posh new restaurant in town. The World Wide Web celebrates its 20th birthday today. Happy Birthday to you!
On 6th August 1991 Tim Berners Lee and his team gave birth to the first website. It was a tad basic, a bit ugly, and a lot boring… a birthing ritual still kept alive by a number of traditional advertising agencies today.
With each passing year the Web has evolved, morphing and evolving into an essential element of our everyday lives. From the screech and whistles of early dial-up modems to the introduction of high speed broadband, wifi and mobile 4G around the corner, advances in technology and expertise has improved the online experience and harnessed the essential of engagement. The Web has become a hyper information conduit, and made the world much smaller by bringing us into easy contact with friends, family and acquaintances…
…it makes me feel so warm when I get friend requests from former school bullies on Facebook!
As well as giving me a job, the Web has genuinely revolutionised communications. It took Radio 38 years to reach 50 million users, it took TV 13 years, but only 4 years for the Web. Further to this, social media has revolutionised the Web itself. Facebook reached 200 million users in less than a year! With 50% of the world’s population under 30 and 96% of Millenials a member of a social network, you won’t appear on Oprah as a talented clairvoyant to work out what the future holds.
How the web will develop is difficult to say, especially given the changes we have seen in so few years. Nobody had heard of Facebook just five years ago! What we do know is it will continue to replicate the society in which it is growing up: one where there is good and bad, where there is openness and closedness, where there are principles and where are those eager to fob off and make a quick buck (oops trad ad agency tangent again).
Happy birthday World Wide Web! No longer a teenager and well on your way to getting the key of the door.