Happy 25th Birthday to the World Wide Web
By John Focht
On March 13, 1989, I sat at my electric typewriter, slid a piece of paper through the top, and started typing my science paper.
My family was a little behind the times as the 80’s were getting ready to jump to the 1990’s.
We didn’t have the Apple computer, but at least we finally upgraded from the regular typewriter that I was typing my school papers with during freshman year. After all, the electric typewriter had that cool erase feature that the regular typewriter didn’t.
I was a senior in high school on this date 25 years ago. Blaring my Tom Petty – Full Moon Fever cassette on my boom-box, little did I know March 13, 1989 would have more significance to me than just trying to finish an insignificant science paper for Mr. Gionta.
It was March 13, 1989 and the World Wide Web was born, and it would change the face of the world forever. Such an innocuous thing. A bunch of computer guys designed this page or something on a computer – big deal.
Within a few years, the internet came along and companies like AOL were booming. By the mid-90’s “You’ve Got Mail” became a phrase everyone knew.
For me, one of my first jobs out of college was working for a company that was putting up its first website. It was just a simple static content website, but it was a huge deal at the time.
The internet was now booming by the late 90s; the dotcom’s were still rising; and it was all due to that World Wide Web thing created on March 13, 1989.
Little did we know then how our world would change. I was still simply trying to adapt to this CD thing that was replacing the cassette – reminds, me, I need to flip Tom Petty to Side B.
Twenty-five years ago, my father’s office at work had no monitor or computer on their desk. Working from home was not an option – how the heck could people work from home anyway?
And tele-commuting? Was that some sort of thing they did in Star Trek?
Shopping, job searches, working, communication, dating. There is nothing that hasn’t been affected by the World Wide Web.
I even look at myself as a writer. When I first entered college as a journalism major in August 1989, the only thing to worry about was deadlines and editors. Today, there is all that, but I also need to worry about the number of page views my story receives – page views? What?
What about the advent of social media? No longer is just having a website relevant. Even this article I need to publish through all my different social media channels – nobody told me I would need to worry about all this twenty-five years ago.
Even writing a book has changed. I would have never been able to guess 25 years ago that when I published my first book – BEACH GAMES AT THE SHORE (nice plug there) – that I wouldn’t even need to put it in a single bookstore. I could sell it all on this World Wide Web thing.
Twenty-five years ago, when you took a random picture of yourself, or of food on your table, your family and friends just thought you were demented. Today, you are called a Foodie and a Selfie.
Well, if I could go back in time and give my March 13, 1989 self some advice about the world on March 13, 2014 it would be this – pay attention to that World Wide Web thing – the future is here.
Also, don’t throw out your old records, they will make a comeback. And oh yea, keep the typewriter too…you never know on that old thing either.