The Internet: Then and Now

Whilst learning about the history of the internet, I soon realised that many, if not all, of the internet’s revolutionary events occurred in the late 20th century. On the timeline provided, the last date recorded is 2007, the year in which there was a major move to have TV shows online. Therefore, it appears that nothing has happened in the last decade that is worth talking about in terms of the revolution of the internet. We have certainly experienced a vast array of major developments, including global communication, the popularity of social media, and the speed of the internet, but none of these have appeared to cause drastic change amongst our society and therefore are not labelled as ‘revolutionary’. Of course, some developments could be seen as revolutionary – take online shopping, for example. Sites such as Amazon and eBay have allowed consumers to browse through products they desire and purchase them without having to go into stores. However, these sites could just be seen as developments of the revolutionary event where ‘WWW’ was created, which essentially allowed online shopping to take place. I therefore find it interesting how we are developing what is already out there on the internet, such as websites, social media, software, communication, and even emoticons, rather than successfully enforcing completely new concepts and ideas.


Social media: The world in our hands

Remember back in the day when we communicated face-to-face; when we went to the library to get a book, to the shop to buy a product, to a town to see it’s sights? Well.. things have changed. Today you can be everywhere, without leaving your room, and do everything, just by a click of a finger. All you need is internet. And what I find most remarkable about the Internet, is social media.

socialmedia2-300x200Only a decade ago social media was nothing. Today it is everything. Platforms, like Twitter and Facebook, have created one big society, in which everyone is involved and each voice can be heard. And to tell your story, you don’t need to be a journalist, nor a celebrity. You just need to post it online – as a tweet, a picture, a video or a status update. Thanks to social media, information now reaches billions of people worldwide, faster than ever before. Social media has not only changed our life. It has simply put the whole world in our hands.


We all know that social media (and the Internet as a whole) has a significant impact on us. My question, however, is not, whether this is good or bad. I am asking you to think about the impact, that WE have on social media, because exactly we, the users, are the reason for the power of these platforms, and without us social media could not be, what it is now.


Thank you for reading!
Let me know what you think. 

History of the Internet – Youtube

The history of the internet is a very vast topic so I have decided to focus on one particular element of it, how it has developed over time and they affect it has had on people. For this I felt like Youtube was a great example. Youtube was founded in February 2005 by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim, the first video posted was co-founder Jawed Karim at the zoo. The video is still on the site, I have linked it below for any lovers of zoos and/or elephants!

First Youtube video

Youtube started as a platform for people to upload and share random videos with their friends and family. The site quickly developed and by November 2006 Google had purchased Youtube for $1.65 billion. What I find interesting about the platform is how much of a business it has become for creators, the transition from a fun place to share videos, to a career for people creating content seemed to happen very subtly. Once Youtube videos were attracting massive view counts, a percentage of the money that Google were making from the advertisements on the page on the video were passed onto the creator as an incentive to create more content. Or for a simpler definition, see the equation below!


Obviously not everyone who makes a Youtube video is going to be instantly rich, there is only a small minority who make it big. However, those who do are able make a very comfortable living out of it! That being said, another aspect I find interesting is the controversy that comes with being a popular ‘Youtuber’, in particular regarding copyright. Copyright can be a touchy subject around Youtube, obviously if someone posts your content and tries to claim it as their own and take money from doing so, then that video should be removed, in this case the copyright system works well. However others argue that the Youtubers who make commentaries of themselves playing video games, (somehow) getting millions of views in the process and having the makers of the game placing copyright claims against their videos are wrong. They argue that the videos undoubtedly great free publicly for their games. This week there has been outrage that Youtubers ‘The Fine Bros’, who have youtube series of people reacting to items and videos were granted the trademark of the term ‘React’, meaning they could remove any video which were similar to their ‘react’ videos.

Youtube has progressed from a small video sharing site, to a very lucrative business for some content creators, in a very short period of time. Where do you stand in terms of people making huge amounts of money from making videos and the quite sensitive matter of copyright issues on the site?


Reading about the internet on the internet

From its humble beginning as ARPANET in 1969, to its massive breakthroughs (IRC – 1988, World Wide Web – 1991, YouTube – 2006, etc.), the internet has taken by storm the technological scene. Over the years, it has grown into a virtual space of information and communication by providing great amounts of diversified information on one side, and connecting people across the world on the other. Nowadays, it represents another dimension of humankind – a new digital identity.

What I find particularly intriguing about the history of the internet is launching of the Project Gutenberg, in 1971. Michael Hart was smart enough to understand that the storage, retrieval and searching of information on the internet’s limitless database is critical. By manually typing the “Declaration of Independence” he initiated the project further setting the stage for the modern eBooks and a ‘new reading era’.

And here we are 45 years later, starring at our blue-light screens, reading ‘Misunderstanding the internet’ on our laptops and thinking about eating pizza. Just kidding! In fact, we are thinking how the internet succeeded into converting the piles of dusty books forgotten in the libraries, in an electronic format available to everyone. The possibility of carrying an extensive digital library in one’s pocket is an unexpected gift from the internet. Nowadays, a book is within a click away and can be read no matter the borders. Long live the eBook and the internet!

The history of internet

Even though everything has a history, a moment where it all started, I never actually thought about the history of internet, mostly because ever since I was old enough to use it, internet was there, just a few clicks away.

However, one of the things that have always fascinated me about the evolution of the internet is the speed. The speed to send a text, an image, a video, the speed to connect with someone from another corner of the world, the speed to access a link and most importantly, the speed by which news travel nowadays. And I’m not talking about what lipstick Kylie Jenner bought recently, but about serious issues like natural hazards(tsunami, earthquake, fire, floods), economical issues (world economic crisis) or political (new laws, elected leaders of states, wars, change of regime). Every piece of news gets to us even faster and faster.

Is that good or bad? I believe it is absolutely amazing that we now have this kind of global access to everything that is happening around us and within minutes we can be updated with what’s new in the USA, China, UK, Spain or Brazil. Do you think there might be a downside to it?


Across the Globe

When I was younger, I remember listening to my grandpa’s stories of when he moved to Venezuela. He emigrated from Spain when he was in his twenties, leaving all of his family and friends behind. I remember him telling me how he had to wait months for a reply every time he sent a letter.

Over the years, communication has improved in huge ways, and the Internet plays a big role in these developments. Those months of waiting for a reply got condensed in less than a minute thanks to this worldwide network. Platforms like Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, Skype or FaceTime make it possible to stay in touch with people all around the globe, and being far away from home has made me appreciate this even more than I already did. Although it is commonly said that the Internet and social media have made people interact less between each other and actually disconnects them, studying abroad makes me disagree: I am in constant communication with my family and friends.

I remember when my grandpa used to tell me how he had to wait months for replies every time he sent a letter. Me? I’m just a few clicks away from the rest of the world.

-Patricia Sanchez

Internet and Communication ;)

The internet has been an integral part of my everyday life since my 11 years old. How could I never come across its history and the way it emerged? The internet’s history as a whole is very interesting. Mainly if analysed from the very beginning, when governments and corporations were main actors to its occurrence and development.

However, what engaged me the most was the creation of the emoticons on the internet. Principally, the reasons for it to be invented and to continue being used nowadays.

Scott Fahlamn was the creator of the classic smiley design emoticon “:-)” in 1982. He wanted to confirm that his readers would understand that some of his comments in online posts would be sarcastic jokes. To avoid misunderstandings, he suggested the emoticon as to represent any sarcasm.

After all, when we use online text-based communication, comparing to when we talk in person or on the phone, we miss the clues of body language or tone of voice to convey the information. When the internet became a social tool of communication, raised the need for users to communicate in the most effective way.

The Wellcome Collection in London is offering a free event on this Friday 5th, called “Feeling Emotional”, about human emotions. One of the activities will be to create an Emoji for you to “Be your own emoji”. This is a clear example of how these expressive ideograms are extremely linked with the way we want to communicate our feelings.

I also would recommend a fun video about the history of the Emojis: entirely told IN EMOJIS!

Nowadays, I would not be able to delivery messages on my social media, such as WhatsApp, without using Emojis (considered as the evolution of emoticons) which represent my feelings. Do you also find them useful?

Cecília Parreira