The History of the Internet

One thing I find particularly interesting about the history of the internet is the transition from it being mainly for breaking codes in the military, to being part of everyone’s everyday lives. You could even suggest that it is somewhat surprising that it took as long as it did for this transition to be made; now the idea of the World Wide Web ‘for everyone’ seems so normal that the original idea of a similar thing only being used by a few military professionals seems absurd.

Such changes happened so rapidly that it is hard to believe that less than 70 years ago the internet was non-existent.

Indeed – when these changes came into play, certain counter-cultures emerged who were in many ways part of a virtual community. These people viewed the internet as leading to a more complete and authentic self.

I find it particularly interesting how in such a short space of time the internet went from Alan Turing cracking the Enigma Code to a series of counter cultures who used the internet as almost a form of expression and a pathway to getting your voice heard. – In the same way we utilize social media today.

I think the changes the internet has undergone are perhaps most clear in this quote:

“Governments of the Industrial world, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.”

– John Perry Barlow


The Influence of the Dot-Com Bubble

The one thing that surprised me most about the rise of the Internet was what a significant event the dot-com bubble burst was in regards to company growth on the World Wide Web. Before this class I had never even heard of that dot-com bubble. It surprises me that in an industry as completely new and unknown as the Internet, companies were not at least somewhat aware of the limitations that such large growth posed.

I feel like if online companies were more cautious in their initial stages and did not grow at an unforeseen pace, the Internet landscape as we know it would be completely different. Companies that did not survive the burst could have had a huge impact on Internet culture. Just think of the dozens of companies that could have been on par with eBay and Amazon, but just didn’t have enough resources to pull themselves together after such a tough time. Companies like eBay, Amazon, and Google have become industry-dominating mega-firms largely due to the fact that their competition was wipes away. Without this burst, we’d be looking at a different landscape.


The History Of The Internet.

Throughout history the internet has had to adapt to ever changing times. In the beginning when the net was being used only for the military and academic purposes it only had to meet the needs of a very limited number of individuals. Now that use has been side lined in order to fit the needs of the masses. But where did all this growth come? The internet growth was supported in a number of ways during the 1990s. One of these events was a US summit in 1994 which was held by the US Vice President Al Gore ‘the first time a really major politician had acknowledged the potential of the Internet to change society.’ 1994 was a very important year in regard to the growth of the internet as it was the year that marketers took over and the internet became commercialised. I find it interesting how the internet took around 20 years to become so popular and yet today many of us couldn’t imagine life without it, going into a meltdown when we can’t get online or going into a coffee shop just because it has free Wi-Fi. Are we becoming too reliant on the net?



History of the internet

“Nobody cared and they said it wouldn’t work,” “Even if it does work, we want nothing to do with it.” This was the mentality that Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee had to face, of-course the creator of World Wide Web (www).
Consummating a bittersweet victory in 1958, researchers and scientist sent out the first words on the Internet in front of an audience, gradually sending letters “L” (successful) “O” (successful) “G” (system crash), congrats the first word sent on the internet was LO.

The Internet has come a long way from then. Initially the purpose of this structure was to send messages from one person to another without being in the same room, that was Internet then. In 1991, gradually the concept had transformed into a hub (www) where everyone could collectively access information, it sure has been made easier for us now. We’ve noticed enormous amounts of change created by the Internet, we’ve got the good, we’ve experienced the best, and we’ve based our future around it. This was the beginning of something that would result in the evolution of society. Lets take a moment to look in the past and realise what started ‘internet’.

Was it the threat from soviet union, which was partially the reason as to why, we have the Internet today? Well it constituted as one of the many reasons that led to America’s victory in the cold war. However, was the discovery of internet really worth the war?


Progression Progression Narcissism

Is the history of the Internet any longer relevant and is there anything to be learned from it?

Understanding the history of the Internet dispels the illusion behind it. No longer do I ask, “Where is the internet?” It is a logical and actually a relatively simple method of connections between computers, Wi-Fi and servers that we can track from the beginnings of ARPANET to the massive global infrastructure we now have.


To look at the history of the Internet is to look at young minds, young ideas and young people. Today young individuals dominate the Internet and are consistently best able to utilise its powers to their ability. YouTube stars are becoming famous, rich and influential people in ways subculture icons before them have done. The only difference being now, everybody is part of the same ‘sub’culture, the Internet.

We all use social media, we all have online personalities and we all post aspect of our lives that seem the most desirable. We could be seen as the most self obsessed generation to ever live, and we can see these values being spread throughout wider society. Popular culture focuses largely on self confidence, empowerment and beauty. In 2013 “selfie” was named word of the year and added to the Oxford english dictionary.

However, as with anything, fads will come and go, the generations will grow up, move on and develop new things to follow. Already a new video posting site YouNow (which I hadn’t heard of before) has so called ‘celebrities’ dominating site traffic. Young people will always demand progression and the internet has allowed for this to happen on a worldwide scale at an even more rapid pace. Regardless of how narcissistic or shallow that progression may currently be, there will always be new normals.


Out with the old and in with the new

Looking at how the Internet changed in the decades, between Alan Turing cracking the Enigma code and Arpanet, everyone can see how different that was compared to now.  But if we analyse the evolution only in the social network area, a deeper understanding of the internet user as an individual comes out.

With the birth of my MySpace in 2003, even if it was destined to fail, we can see how people, especially in the case of bands, were putting their content out there, that everyone could choose whether to see or not. Only 8 years later, in 2011 Snapchat was founded, where you can send pictures and videos directly to people and see if they have watched them.

To some this may seem as a good thing, since you “force” people into looking at what you are up to, without wondering if people are ignoring you, but I see it as a vicious circle; you receive confirmation, so you get used to it and constantly crave it, fuelling the fear of rejection.

The same goes for dating sites; now with boom of Tinder you know that you are going to be judged on your appearance.

The present of an Internet user has no escape, you’re either in or completely out.

Has the internet really advanced that much?

Social media has become the UK’s preferred activity on the internet says Jasper Jackson, The Guardian. It is said that Brits are spending an average of 34 minutes each day on Social Media, but some researchers say that this is not what the internet was intended for in the first place.

If we look back to the 1960s, when ARPANET was first introduced for scientific research purposes, you will see that even then, the concept of sharing information was its primary purpose.


If we compare ARPANET to Facebook, the founder of the multi-billion-pound platform was a University student who envisioned his peers connecting via one database, sharing their daily thoughts, snaps and other types of media. It is extremely interesting to think that this is a similar concept to the original design in the 1960s, where users of a platform would share data in one big bubble.


Recently, there have been hundreds of social media platforms created around the world. These offer anyone who has access to the internet, a way to communicate, share media and even date online. The only difference, being the look of the front-end, but it is interesting to know that all of these platforms are built using a similar coding language and store our data (text, photos, videos, audio) in one large database.