On December 21, 1990, the internet had its first website go up. This means that just recently, the internet celebrated its 25th birthday – and what a sensational 25 years it has been!
Every minute, more than 204 million emails are sent. And every second, more than 1,900 Skype calls are made and more than 52,000 Google searches are conducted. That’s an unthinkable amount of learning, sharing, and communicating to happen in the matter of a minute, all of which would not be happening without a WiFi connection. Over the past 25 years, we have watched the internet defy all odds, making the impossible very possible, and especially in the way of bringing people together.
It’s difficult for us to now imagine a world where Facebook doesn’t exist to help us catch up with our Aunt Mindy’s, or where Twitter doesn’t exist to share what we had for breakfast. Sure, this kind of behavior can be seen as destructive to real human connection, but if done the right way, it can also greatly enhance the way we connect and communicate.
Social media, for example, brings us closer together with those we hold dearly from afar. In the past, the strongest of friendships may have admitted a sad defeat to the barriers of long distance call charges and cost of airfare. The internet, however, is helping us keep long distance friendships alive. Social media sites allow us to connect with all of the people we love on a daily basis, and even provide us means of communication necessary for making plans to meet face to face.
Dating websites have found people the relationship they would have searched a lifetime for on their own. Strategic software matches people who are compatible on a deeper level, ensuring that each couple is a couple built to last. Thanks to dating websites, people can avoid the awkward bar scene to instead find the person they’ve been dreaming of with the touch of a button and in the comfort of their own living rooms. Many have the internet to thank for finding them their soul mates, and even bringing their children into the world.
On top of that, the internet has made it possible for people to make a living and support their families without even having to leave their beds in the morning. That’s right – people can apply for jobs, be interviewed for jobs, work a job, and get paid for a job all through a stable internet connection. The online freelance community is a fast growing one, with careers in the areas of journalism, accounting, graphic design, programming, marketing, legal, and even engineering becoming more and more readily available. In fact, it’s estimated that a staggering 53 million Americans have hopped on board with the freelance community (that’s 34% of the entire workforce)!
And if you don’t have the credentials to become a freelancer in one of those fields, the dream is still closer than you think! Courses conducted entirely online are beginning to educate the people of today, with a real degree being available upon completion.
So while it is unhealthy to remain glued to your Instagram feed at a family function or document an intimate and private date for the world to see over Snapchat, the internet is bringing lots more good into our lives than bad. Without the internet, we wouldn’t be able to share, learn, support, or communicate with each other in the instantaneous way that we do – the way that is shaping our generation into one so unique from generations past. Years from now, we’ll be telling our grandchildren about how we saw the birth of the internet happen, and their eyes will only widen in amazement.
If you want to learn more about the origins of the Internet, watch also the documentary.