Internet Revolution

Topics: Internet, Industrial Revolution, United Kingdom Pages: 7 (1823 words) Published: November 26, 2013
The Internet Revolution


Why a Revolution?
Not very long ago, the only people talking about the Internet were the small number of individuals who were engaged in
engineering it, building it, and nurturing its growth. That was during the 1970s. But even during the 1980s, as the Internet expanded its reach and diversified its information resources and services, the Internet’s existence went largely unnoticed by the general public and it managed to retain its quiet, remote, and unassuming presence. The only national press coverage the

Internet received during the first two decades of its existence was when there was a sudden and sizable failure in one of its
component systems or a debilitating network attack, like the Internet worm of 1988. And the only individuals who took an
interest in the Internet were computer enthusiasts, and their numbers were still very small. Moreover, in order to have any access to the Internet, you had to work at a major research facility, like AT&T Bell Laboratories, or attend one of the lucky few

Internet-connected academic institutions, like MIT or Stanford, or be employed by one of the United States government agencies that controlled it. In other words, for the first twenty or so years of its existence, the Internet remained predominantly hidden from public view and functioned as the private and entirely commerce-free playground of researchers and scientists, students and computer center workers, and some members of the military.

The Internet Revolution


The Internet Revolution

Nowadays, it’s difficult to avoid some reference to the Internet, no matter how hard we may try. It comes up in conversations with friends and family and in meetings at work as people complain about the latest email virus or some interminable network

slowdown or as they rave about a site they have just discovered for managing their stock portfolio or playing poker. We hear about the Internet on radio and television programs as broadcasters
awkwardly spell out their Internet site addresses in an effort to entice us to get more in-depth information on a particular subject, such as a recent news story or the upcoming episodes of a popular show. We see the Internet’s effect on commerce everywhere we look, in its role as an entirely new and powerful medium for the distribution of all forms of advertising, as evidenced by the Web site names that confront us on everything and anything that can contain printed text, from billboards to baseball caps, t-shirts to tattoos, the sides of cars, trucks, trains, and planes, the walls of sports stadiums, the cellophane wrappers enclosing heads of

lettuce, and even those annoying stickers attached to each and every grapefruit, tomato, and cucumber.
This change didn’t happen overnight, but it definitely feels like it did. It took less than ten years after the Internet was privatized and opened up to commercial traffic in the early 1990s for it to become a basic and essential part of our daily lives. It became, quietly and unobtrusively, an integral component of our home life, our jobs, and the world’s communication infrastructures,

economies, and cultures. This change was so compelling and
pervasive that it raises the question: what kind of vacuum or void existed before the Internet’s creation and its evolution into such a powerful and ubiquitous presence? In the course of a few, frenetic years, the Internet has grown into an inexorable force that

businesses, non-commercial organizations, governments, scientific and academic institutions, and individuals throughout the
industrialized world have not only accepted but embraced.
Consequently, the Internet’s impact can be seen all around us. The Internet has transformed how business is conducted, and
it has provided powerful new ways to locate, learn about, and buy all types of products and services. It has inspired and made possible the creation of entirely new business enterprises,
including the much...
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