Friday, September 2, 2011

Oh How Times Have Changed... A Look Back To the Early Days of the Internet

Oh how times have changed! In the MB lunchroom today we were sharing stores about which smart phone was the best bang for your buck - the Blackberry users pitted against the iPhone users and the small but proud folks from team Android voiced their opinions.

How lucky we are to live in Canada in 2011 where we can have arguments about which smart phone is better. Which one has better email and internet functionality in the palms of our hands.

Think back to 1994 and 1995 when "the Internet" generated excitement. This clip from MTV in 1995 sums up some of the excitement and uncertainty surrounding this new technology:


Just. Wow.

Some of the statistics in this video are staggaring: "10 million active users in 1995" and "30 million users" overall. Our favorite two segments are Coolio saying "if you're not on the information superhighway then where are you?" and Dave Matthews talking about bootleg tapes and music distribution as good publicity.

Compare that to a few major news events in the future like Napster (getting sued by Metallica and Dr Dre in 2000 and various others in subsequent years) and Google+ seeing exponential growth (30 million active users in one month). There's also Facebook which recently hit 750 million active users.

Speaking of the "Home Computer Movies" that the reporter scoffs at in this MTV video, "Charlie Bit My Finger" has over 384 million views on YouTube.

So a lot of what we speculated in 1995 (modems??) were removed from the internet landscape and much of what we expected to happen didn't happen as anticipated. Despite this, many of the predictions are correct. Virtual reality (the Sims, Farmville) and the need to connect (social media, Twitter, Facebook) have remained true.

Sure, your favorite artist may not do a "Simulcast" anymore and it's not breaking news when David Bowie decides to try sending an e-mail for the first time, but there is still excitement when celebrities do things online (most notably when they say something ridiculous - Kenneth Cole, I'm looking at you) and every time a new social network is released (Google+) there is some buzz and excitement from the online community.

One of the greatest parts of the Internet (and technology) it its ability to constantly evolve and change. What does the future have in store? What can we expect? It's hard to speculate but it will undoubtedly be as exciting as when the "Information Superhighway" first started taking on passengers.

Comment below and let us know what you think!

For one more clip of how easily the Internet baffled folks in the early 90s, check out this clip: