Flashback Friday: exploring the World Wide Web

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This past Tuesday marked the 20th birthday of the World Wide Web. That’s right, the public Internet has only been around for 20 odd years. For older folks, the birth of the public Internet seems like yesterday. But for us ’90s kids, it seems like forever ago. That’s because the Internet grew alongside our generation. We are children of the digital age, and the Internet is a bigger part of our lives than we might care to realize. It has grown and changed in more ways than one over the years — just like we have. And just like we’ve forgotten bits and pieces of our childhood, we’ve also forgotten some of the details about the Internet in its younger days. So we at the Clog are going to take a Flashback Friday trip through cyberspace to www.internetnostalgia.com. (No, that site doesn’t exist.)

A lot of ’90s kids gained their first exposure to the internet during the mid to late ’90s, when households were starting to commonly acquire home computers. Looking back, the world of the Internet was a much simpler place. But the notion of exploring it was something even more tremendous. Before the Internet became a huge procrastination tool, it was an exciting, uncharted world filled with infinite possibilities.

Back in the day, searching the Internet and exploring websites were much more humble experiences. Search engines like Google and Ask Jeeves always yielded results from small user-created websites created through services like Yahoo Geocities or AngelFire. Who doesn’t remember spending hours looking at Pokemon and Harry Potter fan sites?

All the cool programs and activities that the Internet offered were equally exciting.   Remember spending countless hours playing Shockwave mini games on gaming compilation sites? We at the Clog give you massive props if you can remember this Adobe Shockwave gaming legend. And who doesn’t recall talking to friends over AOL’s famous social instant messaging service, AIM? That opening and closing door sound is a fond memory of ours. And the blaring phone noises that rang whenever we logged into AOL still give us nightmares. Dial-up is a memory we’d rather not delve into.

Nowadays, the Internet is a much different place. The way we do things within it has changed. Wikis have become dominant sources for information and have rendered user-made fan sites inefficient and outdated. Programs like Skype and social sites like Reddit and Facebook have exiled AIM. But we at the Clog can never forget the old days of the Internet. As children of the digital age, we must always make sure to remember why the Internet has made our generation uniquely interesting and different from those that came before it. After all, we have to stay conscious of what the Internet is becoming — because it will continue to grow alongside us for many more years to come.

Do you have any fond memories of the Internet that you’d like to share? Feel free to comment below!

Image source: g4ll4is under Creative Commons

Contact Matt Espineli at [email protected]