25 years ago today marks the day the internet became available to the public, all thanks to (who I like to call a saint), Sir Tim Berners-Lee. To mark this silver anniversary, here’s a reflection on ways we’ve been connecting ever since:
- Dial Up Internet
“Mom, can you get off the phone!? I need to go on the computer!” Believe it or not, this used to be a thing back in the 1990s. This method of connecting may be a little dated for some millennials, but for those who remember the struggle, it’s a great flashback down memory lane. If you thought your wifi was slow, imagine dial up internet.
- AOL Instant Messaging
1997 was the start of it all. What seemed to be instant at the time, AOL Instant Messaging (otherwise known as AIM) gave people the chance to connect a bit quicker than if you were to use email. It’s most memorable for it’s little running man logo. Sadly, it started to die out in the early 2000s.
- MSN Messenger
The reason for the fade out of AIM was mainly due to the release of MSN Messenger. Although it was released in 1995, it didn’t gain popularity until the early to mid 2000s. Everyone would run home after school and log onto MSN just to talk to the friends they just saw, or to collect as many little emoji-like characters you could use in your messages. Updating your status at the top of your page was a huge deal and often caused a lot of drama between friend groups. I remember when I got my account, I felt like such an adult.
February 4, 2004 was the day we said hello to Facebook. However, it wasn’t until 2007 where it started to take over the world, giving us an opportunity to see the lives of everyone and anyone. Adults in particular were obsessed with Facebook because it gave them a chance to reconnect with old friends and catch up. Thinking back that must’ve been pretty cool, it’s like looking through a friends history book who you haven’t seen in twenty years. Thankfully Facebook is still alive and kicking today, contrary to what people believe, and still gives us the opportunity to stay in touch.
- Video chats/Skype
It’s not exactly sure which company came out with video chatting first, but what we can say is that this blew everyone’s minds away! You could use a microphone and a camera and talk to someone like they were sitting right in front of them physically, but you were both on a computer! It was first used for the Secret Service but once it became available for the general public, it became a huge fad connecting people from all over the world. One of the biggest ways we communicate today is still through Skype and Facetime.
On February 15, 2005, we were introduced to the world of viewing videos online. Everyone was surprised at how addicting YouTube became, and although you couldn’t actually talk to people, it still connected us by being able to view whatever people around the world wanted us to post. It’s probably bigger today than what it was back then. Although the Charlie Bit Me video is still a classic.
Back in July of 2006, our eggs hatched and Twitter was born. It gave us the opportunity to share what was on our minds in 140 characters or less and it was addicting. It became wildly popular around 2008 when Ashton Kutcher became a huge advocate for the site, as well as celebrities such as Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and Donnie Wahlberg helping to push it. The coolest part about Twitter is that it gave us a chance to connect with celebrities and get an inside view into their lives.
Insta-damn! Similar to Facebook, Instagram gives us a chance to see our friends pictures, edit our own, post them and follow people from all over the world. You can comment on them, like them, and even re-post them. It’s been one of the most common ways of communicating through technology since 2010!
In September 2011, Snapchat was released and it’s maintained its status as one of the most popular apps in the world. With its recent updates, you can instant message your friends, send and view photos and videos, use hilarious filters, and even read articles posted by news and entertainment outlets.
You’d be lying if you said you weren’t absolutely obsessed with at least one of these forms of communication at one time or another in your life. So thank you Sir Tim Berners-Lee for an amazing 25 years full of fun and open communication. I don’t even think he knew what the internet would do to change the world, but the opportunities are endless.
Featured Image Via Yuri Meler