Thirty years ago, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web and it’s no understatement to say that it has permanently and fundamentally changed the way we live, work, interact and communicate.
Today, it’s impossible to imagine life without videos of cats doing stupid things, Piers Morgan making a bell of himself on Twitter, being able to compare car insurance quotes and ordering junk food at the touch of a button but it wasn’t originally intended with that stuff in mind…
In a nutshell, while working at CERN, TimBL as he’s known to his pals was getting a little miffed at having to constantly switch computers to access files that weren’t stored on his machine so he decided to do something about it.
Fast forward three short decades and we’re where we are. The internet is an insane place full of amazing, incredibly addictive things, scarcely believable content and larger-than-life people, literally and metaphorically. For good or bad dependent on your viewpoint, nothing is off limits. Some would argue it’s the price we pay for free speech, unless you’re reading this in North Korea, in which case – oh, you can’t. Never mind.
So as the internet turns 30 and the spotty, angst-ridden teenager matures into a millennial, here’s the ultimate guide to the internet!
An Internet Minute
The chances are you’re reading this at work and you’re not alone. This is what happens in an average internet minute and you’re part of the reason these statistics are so high:
Facebook – 973,000 logins
WhatsApp – 38,000,000 messages sent
YouTube – 4,300,000 videos viewed, 300 hours of video uploaded
Twitter – 481,000 tweets sent
Tinder – 1,100,000 swipes
Apps – 375,000 downloads
Email – 187,000,000 sent
Twitch – 936,000 views
SMS – 18,000,000 messages sent
Snapchat – 2,400,000 snaps created
Online Spending – $863,000
Netflix – 266,000 hours watched
Google – 3,700,000 searches
Scaled up to a month, that’s about 42 billion Facebook logins, 159 billion Google searches, 1.6 trillion WhatsApp messages sent and 8 trillion emails sent (mostly from my mum asking if I’ve eaten…).
It’s Not Always About Productivity
The internet is a phenomenal productivity tool. It has made everything we do more efficient, more collaborative with more interaction and most importantly, faster. Therefore, business are more productive and by definition, more profitable. Of that there is no downside.
But what about when you just want to waste some time? In fact, studies have shown that taking breaks after bursts of actual work does wonders for productivity so close the three-month forecast spreadsheet down, stop writing that email to Bev in HR, forget Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for a minute, kick off your shoes and glory in the funniest, most interesting, utterly pointless time-wasting websites ever created!
Awkward Family Photos – We’ve all got them, but these are totes awks.
People of Wal-Mart – The Asda of North America. These are some of the people that shop there.
Oddee – Goat theft, weird laws and the pet hippo of a drug lord. What else do you need?
Reddit – Where learning about cool science stuff and watching bullies get beaten up sit side by side.
Engrish – When you need your fix of poorly translated signs, packaging and extreme unfamiliarity with the English language.
The Useless Web – it’s only goal is to show the internet’s most pointless websites.
There are the great content sites where you can waste hours like The Onion, Cracked, Mental Floss, The Poke and The Oatmeal and then there are the websites that make you question your own sanity and ask yourself why on earth someone took the time to create them…
And if you’ve ever wondered what the world’s first website looked like, here it is.
So we say happy birthday to the World Wide Web and thank you for giving us all an excuse to dither but what’s next?
The simple answer is ‘who knows’. Surely five years ago no-one could have foreseen where we are now and it’s hard to imagine what it’s going to be like five years from now but as long as there are still people doing stupid stuff on YouTube, we can still get kebabs delivered at 11pm and Morgan and Lineker are going at it like schoolboys on Twitter, we’ll be happy!
Catch you soon.