The World Wide Web turns 30 today

Thanks to Sir Tim Berners-Lee, we have online streaming, online shopping, social media and, perhaps most importantly, the right on the line blog.

Today marks 30 years since the beginning of the World Wide Web, created by Sir Tim Berners-Lee on 12th March 1989. Considering that this revolutionary invention has become so integral to our daily lives, we were certainly shocked that it has only been around for such a comparatively short time.

Of course, The World Wide Web is not to be mistaken for the Internet. The Internet, which started development in the 1960s, is described by scientists as a ‘network of networks’. The World Wide Web, on the other hand, is a coding system used to access the information that lives on these different networks. To put it simply: if you are currently using a browser to read this blog (Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer) then you are accessing the internet via the World Wide Web.

Before its creation, Sir Tim wrote a paper called “Information Management: A Proposal”, explaining his idea to create “a large hypertext database with type links”. His boss claimed that his discoveries were “vague but exciting” and thankfully gave the then 33-year-old software engineer time to develop his ideas. Little did they know how universally significant this would become – now, about half of the world’s population is online.

To commemorate the anniversary, Sir Tim has written an open letter, but its intention seems to be mostly that of a warning and to call upon the public and politicians to “come together” to stop its misuse.

In the letter, Sir Tim says the following:

“While the web has created opportunity, given marginalized groups a voice, and made our daily lives easier, it has also created opportunity for scammers, given a voice to those who spread hatred, and made all kinds of crime easier to commit”.

He warns us that “if we give up on building a better web now, then the web will not have failed us – we will have failed the web”.

Despite Sir Tim’s concerns about the World Wide Web, one thing is for definite: life wouldn’t be the same without it.

People have been taking to Twitter, using the hashtag #Web30, to share their best World Wide Web throwbacks: