20 years ago today, Tim Berners-Lee published the world’s first website at http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html. The Internet had been around since 1969 and the original proposal was drafted in 1989, and you could also argue that it wasn’t really “born” until there was a second web-server online, in December of 1991, making the World Wide Web a distributed network. That said, today’s a pretty good day to mark as the tipping point in the development of our digital world.
On that day, the world found a new way of sharing information and connecting beyond borders and boundaries and with no barrier to entry. In twenty years, it’s grown to be the single most important innovation for civilisation since electricity. So important, Berners-Lee has called for it to be recognised as a fundamental human right: “It’s possible to live without the Web. It’s not possible to live without water. But if you’ve got water, then the difference between somebody who is connected to the Web and is part of the information society, and someone who (is not) is growing bigger and bigger.”
Big talk, but if anybody can claim to have shaped the 21st century, it’s him.
Here’s to the next 20, wherever they take us!Follow Shane on Twitter: @shane_casey