What do you consider to be the greatest invention in modern history? Many will suggest the automobile, airplanes, the telephone, or even sliced bread, but there’s one that we think outshines them all. Yes, we are talking about the internet! The internet has created a powerful online community that has spawned countless cultural changes and has greatly influenced our lives. Through social media and email alone we have the ability to instantly connect with our friends and family, as well as new acquaintances from around the world. It is hard to fathom that this invention is technically a new phenomenon; we’ve only had the modern internet since 1989!
Why do we celebrate internet Day on October 29th? On this date in 1969, the first recorded message transmission was sent over an internet connection between two computers. A student at UCLA named Charley Kline attempted to send log in information to another student at Stanford named Bill Duvall and managed to send the letters “L” and “O” before the connection was lost. At the time these two students were working on the ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) which was being funded by the US Department of Defense and consisted of four terminals set up at UCLA, Stanford, UC Santa Barbara, and the University of Utah. Each terminal operated independently testing various connections and after this first message attempt, it only took an hour to send the entire message to Stanford.
Even though this internet connection was the birth of the World Wide Web, it was still uncommon for anyone outside of universities, government agencies, and a few scientific labs to be using it at this time. This year also marked the establishment of HTML and HTTP by Tim Berners-Lee who was working in Britain at CERN. The World Wide Web was officially launched as a project in August of 1991 and you can see the results of that project today when you pick up your smartphone. The digital age in the late 90s and into the early 2000s was an explosion of internet fever with over 162 million new and public websites being created and hosted online. Silicon Valley in Northern California became the epicenter of internet development and the dotcom boom. Today the internet is a central pillar in global communications and almost every notable public figure has their own profile online that their fans can interact with. How much do you use the internet in your daily life?
It is important to note that Coleman University was established in 1963, long before the internet was born. Computers were not developed for internet use, in fact, they were initially conceptualized for computing large sums (hence the name “computer”) and storing information securely. At the time it would have been unheard of to discuss putting a computer into a private home. Why would a family or single person need one? It may be hard to imagine now, but considering the size of the computers that were being built, it would have been hard to fit one inside of a home in the first place!
We recognize Internet Day as a moment to reflect on the incredible advancements in technology that we have witnessed in the past century and will continue to see in the future. Celebrate today by learning more about the history of the internet, how it has influenced your life, and the telling your friends on social media to celebrate too!
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