Tracing back to the history of the Internet, Google leads you to this:
“In 1973, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) initiated a research program to investigate techniques and technologies for interlinking packet networks of various kinds. The objective was to develop communication protocols which would allow networked computers to communicate transparently across multiple, linked packet networks. This was called the Internetting project and the system of networks which emerged from the research was known as the “Internet.” The system of protocols which was developed over the course of this research effort became known as the TCP/IP Protocol Suite, after the two initial protocols developed: Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP).”
If you read through the article further, you’d see one keyword reiterated: communication. The birth of the Internet and everything that follows is all about communicating to each other—conversation. What the Internet then was a military tool. What it is now, is a completely different idea.
I cannot speak a whole ton about what the Internet was like back in those days because what it is to me now (and assumingly to many like me) is much different than the military’s original intentions. When I first remembered the Internet, it was with an interrupted phone connection and a symphony of beeping sounds. It was known then as dial-up. The living room would become a maze and accessing e-mail was rocket science. To me, the Internet was a tedious chore I couldn’t quite qualify as necessary. To the world, it was the beginning of a new age.
Chatrooms & Early Social Networking
The next memory I recall of the Internet was getting into MSN and Yahoo! Messenger. It was, what most teens would put it, lit. Messenger status then wasn’t limited to Online, Away, or Do Not Disturb. Most tweens then my age would embed YouTube links, emo quotes, or whatever was trendy. Questions about school were so easily passed on through Messenger and taking down notes slowly became futile. Almost all of my siblings have developed a fascination for chatrooms where you’re able to talk to a bunch of strangers with no strings attached. Friendster then was the hippest site in town, testimonials flooded to the popular girls’ page, and Myspace was the other cool friend. Myspace was a place for artists and regular people like me. I remember getting into role-playing accounts where we would take on different names and take the face of celebrities (I was then a Selena Gomez RP—boy was I not alone). It enabled a cross-cultural understanding simply because it was possible.
The Mode of Communication
Flash forward to what it is now, the Internet is a hub for conversation. It has and always will be relevant to each individual on the planet as long as it becomes a vessel for engaging and communicating. Surely it will evolve, like it has over the years. More and more people will develop their own platforms, create their own sites, fund their digital presence. The Internet continues to thrive because of its ability to make conversation available—which is, the Internet’s killer app.