So this month our good friend ‘The World Wide Web’ celebrated its 25 birthday, and guess who went crazy over it? Yup, the Internet.

25 years ago Tim Berners Lee invented a way to allow Computers to talk to each other, and today that simple instant messaging has sparked unprecedented changes that have shaped our lives and are continuing to do so.

As I’m writing this I am researching online, receiving messages on my phone, watching a video show-reel on a wall sized TV & streaming music. All using the internet. These seemingly simple tasks that are so integrated into our everyday lives have become something that we simply couldn’t live without. Our entire office would be out of a jobs (though I’m sure we’d be able to apply our varied skillsets elsewhere), we would be less travelled, less cultured, less aware, and less able to get back to East London after a late night out in Peckham (serious issue…).

So to mark this anniversary it seemed like a nice time to take a trip down memory lane and ask the office about their first experiences of using ‘The Internet’.

At 23, I am a member of the last generation that will ever have lived both with and without the internet and a strong memory for me has to be sitting in our one man box office upstairs praying that the dial up would hurry the heck up so that I could get on ‘Habbo hotel’ for a cheeky half an hour before my mum picked up the phone and realised that I was online.

What did the rest of the office remember?

Our Managing Director, Julian –

“I remember using a modem plugged into a telephone line and paying 1 penny per minute for slow internet. As soon as you had found what you wanted, it was natural to pull the plug out. Small file sizes to aid quick download was very common then and quite a skill.

We did a lot of work on creating animating gif ad banners and trying to get an advert to look good, animate well and get visitors to click on it. All in 12K. Designers just don’t learn this skill anymore.”

Our Traffic Manager, Lyndsay –

“I remember when Dad first got internet in our house and I tried to go on a Nickelodeon page – it took approximately 5 years to download.”

Our Content Planner, Emma –

“Chatrooms and IMs… being young and thinking it was fun to talk to random strangers who blatantly weren’t who they said they were (and all conversations starting with ‘a/s/l?’) Plus the dreaded dial-up tone that’d take forever… but so much happiness when you’d get to this:”

And finally my response to the suggestions of our Retailer Support Executive, Phill… (You can fill in the gaps)

From: Helen Mulgan
To: Phillip Parker
Subject: RE: 25 years of the internet

Seriously?

I’m not putting that on my blog.

From: Phillip Parker
To: Helen Mulgan
Subject: RE: 25 years of the internet

Deadly serious

Fine, second use – Neopets.

So, what do the next 25 years hold for our Digital counterpart? Bernard Lee says he hopes that the anniversary “will spark a global conversation about our need to defend principles that have made the Web successful, and to unlock the Web’s untapped potential”. Personally, as long as this kind of thing keeps coming down the pipeline we will be more than happy.

 

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