With the internet at the ripe age of 29, we look back over its history to date. Celebrating everything good, and bad, about it.
Earlier this week, the internet hit a milestone. Yes, on the 12th March 2018, the internet turned 29! Many happy returns and all that. Since its conception back in 1989, the internet has evolved and changed so much. Without the internet, lots of us here at Revive Digital would be out of a job (except for James in our graphics team) so we’re pretty thankful it’s reached the stage it has now.
Thanks to the modern internet, the world is connected. Information and news are shared at the click of a button and we can watch funny videos from all around the globe. It really is a marvellous thing. Whilst so many good things have come out of the web, we’ve had our share of pretty bad things too.
In this post, we’ll be looking back at all the high and low points of the internet, with the best and the worst things that have come out of it too. Everything from social media to trolls and online dating, we look at what has made the internet the titan it is today.
Whilst the internet has given us the power to share news and information around the globe, it doesn’t mean it is anywhere near perfect. With ‘fake news’ sites existing on the web, never has it been more important to be aware of the right news outlets to listen to. Yes, the famous term coined by Donald Trump, fake news is, well, news that is false or untrue. Often twisted by someone, fake news comes in many forms.
Of course, there are satirical news sites – intended to be a bit of fun and take the mick out of the actual news. With sites like The Onion and The Daily Mash, news headlines are funny or warped versions of an actual story, with a humorous angle taken towards the writing. Other sites, that have risen from social media pages (LadBible, Buzzfeed etc.) which provide news, alternate articles, videos, images, quizzes and loads more content for readers and visitors to the site. Finally, we have online newspapers, like the Guardian and the Daily Mail (ew). These news outlets came from print papers, and now are available on and offline. Breaking news no longer needs to be broadcast across news networks as it can be streamed online via social media or a news outlet’s website. Many of these news sites now have apps, which means you receive notifications about trending or breaking news the moment it happens. It has never been so easy to share and consume news and information.
Back when everyone had an PS1 or N64, co-op games relied on split screen – where you’d have to sit in the same room and use the same screen. With the PS2 and XBOX, we got split screen gaming which could have up to 4 players, but again, all in the same room. By the time we reached the release of the XBOX 360 and the PS3, we had full online gaming. You’d simply connect your console up to the internet, and you’d be able to play games with players from all over the world.
From this, gaming created an online community, where players would take part in tournaments and play co-op games together. Online gaming has continued to grow and grow, with sites like YouTube and Twitch becoming a platform for gamers to stream themselves playing games (for content and promotional purposes). Without the internet, gamers would not have a platform for their content and we wouldn’t be able to play online with each other – shouting through headsets at people we don’t know. Ah, good times.
Whilst we’re talking about games and streaming, remember the days when if you wanted to rent a film or game you’d have to go to Blockbuster? (R.I.P) But now, it couldn’t be easier to access games, films and TV shows online. Yes, thanks to video streaming, we’re able to digest video content with a good connection and minimal buffering (the better your connection, the less buffering – some of us here are old enough to remember the struggle of dial-up internet!). In the early days of the internet, you’d have to download a video in order to watch it, but now we can stream video content. Sites like Netflix, YouTube and even social media sites allow us to watch all forms of video content. In the most recent years, we’re now able to live stream video to our desktop and handheld devices at the push of a button. It’s made the way we not only watch video content different, but the way it’s produced too. Videos appearing on YouTube range from funny parodies to video tutorials, it’s opened up an avenue to a new kind of video content, that isn’t just film, TV or advertising.
Love it or hate it, there’s no denying the power that social media has, and the impact it has had on culture and society, around the world. We use social media daily, we work on social media, we communicate and interact with people on social media, we even get a growing proportion of our information and entertainment from social media. There’s really nothing quite like it. It allows us to create, share and interact with content in all forms, be it text, video or images. Whilst some say social media is ‘bad for the soul’, from a business perspective, it’s amazing. It allows businesses to use social data to create targeted ads, allowing them to reach the right demographic audience for their product or service. It allows companies to engage with their customers on a whole new level, through messaging and monitoring engagement on posts. It’s a powerful tool for businesses, both large and small.
Speaking of image content on social media, one of the greatest things (in our opinion) to come from both the internet and social media are memes. Pronounced as ‘meems’, they are cultural phenomenon powered by the internet. They usually involve a video, image or GIF (short moving image), with a caption. Memes are usually considered jokes and a bit of fun, but they do wonders for driving up social engagement, interaction and are a staple of internet culture. They’re difficult to describe to those that don’t understand them, and even more difficult to describe if know what they are, but don’t know the exact definition of them. There’s really no explaining memes, they just are…
Ah yes, in the old days you’d have to go and approach someone in a bar or club – can you imagine! But now, you can ‘date’ from the comfort of your own home. With websites like Match.com and mobile apps like Tinder to Grindr, the internet has opened up a new way of dating, which makes it easier to meet people online. Whilst some say internet dating isn’t great, it’s an ideal way to meet someone with the same interests as you, and discuss those interests over messages, without having to meet them in person first. It also allows those seeking different relationship types (casual or serious), to find someone with the same idea in their head. Making it a lot less awkward when you’re 3 dates in and find you’re looking for different things… Thanks internet dating!
Whilst most communication on the web can be wholesome, informative, satirical and fun, some choose to use the internet has a tool to spread hate and hurtful comments. Yes, otherwise known as internet trolls, these mystical beings sit, hiding behind their screen posting rude, hurtful and downright dumb comments on videos, forums, social media posts and more – you name it, there’s probably a troll somewhere on it. One thing that can never be condoned is bullying, in any form – that means cyber bullying. Anyone is a target for these trolls, but they seem to favour minority groups, celebrities or people of influence on the internet. These comments sometimes come anonymously, but always have a hateful message at the core of them – sometimes, people are even sent death threats (can you imagine?). Whilst many aspects of the internet are great, trolls can ruin it for everyone. Luckily, there’s ways to report trolls and support for those experiencing cyber bullying on both public and private channels. Remember, the trolls and comments may be real but they’re sad people with no lives, and nothing better to do.
Now, if you ever tried to do a food shop in your underwear, you’d be shown the door. But, thanks to the internet, we can do so many forms on online shopping from the comfort of our own home! You want a pizza without talking to anyone on the phone? You can order AND pay for it online. You want to buy 5 pairs of the same jeans without being judged? You can order them online. It’s a great way of doing all those otherwise boring tasks from the comfort of your own home. And, you can pretty much order anything you want from the internet – always make sure it’s from a legitimate site though… Plus, internet deals are unrivalled. For the trained online shoppers amongst us, you’ll know there’s a wealth of discount codes, exclusive sales and cheap items available, all you have to do is browse.
Thanks to some clever old internet wizzes, we’re able to have our online communications and transactions secured, without fear of having our data used and abused by everyone. The introduction of cryptography was opposed by governments all over the world, but thanks to the updates in tech, and advocates for online privacy, our data is secured. However, whilst it’s great for us online shoppers to have protection from hackers, those same hackers have their data protected from the powers that be, who are trying to catch them. So, win for us, but also win for hackers which isn’t really a win-win but…
You probably saw this one coming, but the internet has allowed businesses like us to have jobs and earn a living! We’re able to utilise the internet to help our clients’ online business grow through designing a swanky, new and on-trend website, accompanied by an expertly crafted digital marketing strategy. PPC, SMM, content marketing, web design and development… we could go on and on, but through these various roles and hard work, we’re able to help grow a business online!
So, thank you internet! You’ve brought us so many good things, and some bad things too – but, we’ll let you off. You’ve given us jobs, entertainment and eased our lives. Happy 29th Birthday! We’re excited to see what the next 29 years will bring!