25 years ago today, the World Wide Web was born. During this time, it has grown to take over the world, spawning a whole new virtual culture across many fields of life; business, art, film, photography, you name it, it’s online now.
It means something different to each and every one of us, to some it’s brought them closer to people across the world, to others it has given the means to make their lives that bit better. And of course, Selesti wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for this fantastic invention. As a result we thought that we’d all gather together and say a few fine words on this the webs 25th birthday.
Ollie Blackmore, Managing Director:
“I first started using the ‘web’ in 1995 while working as a PC technician. We installed a 56k modem onto a computer and loaded up Internet Explorer 1.0 to see what it was all about. It took forever to get the modem to work, let alone any pages to load! Oh how I miss the noise…
We initially tried to find info about fixing a Novell Netware issue we had with a customer, but soon found links to forums and resources with the ability to post your own topics and get replies!
It wasn’t long before I used the web to teach myself how to create websites in primitive HTML, before long I was coding up very basic sites and started to learn Flash. I was amazed that I could create web pages for other people to see, use and enjoy! Little did I know that one day I’d be running a digital agency who specialise in web design and development. Here’s to another 25 years!”
Tom Parsley, Head of Client Services:
“I first truly appreciated the web when I realised the opportunity to discover new music and keep up to date with bands from far flung corners of the world, without having to tune into a specific radio show at a specific time, or travel to gigs in larger cities.”
Jamie Cotton, Head Of Development:
“The first time I remember having used the internet was when I was about 7 years old in the Florida Science Museum. It must have been about 1991 (I’ll leave you to work out my age).
Now the World Wide Web is truly global, with the ability to access it almost anywhere making it a truly game changing tool for businesses and individuals alike! Boom!”
Hayley Rissmann, Search Marketing Manager:
“In my first week of high school I attended my first IT class, the assignment was to set up an email address. The frenzy began amongst us as we all racked our little 12 year old minds for username ideas, of course wanting to look ‘cool’ your real name would just not do. After the class I circulated my email address - with ‘cool’ username “haylesbopp” - to friends, family and my pen pals. Yes - pen pals - that’s what we did in the days before getting online, young ‘uns!
In the next week’s class we could access our emails and I was so excited to see if I had mail and low and behold yes I did. An inbox full of chain emails that varied in subjects but they mainly sat in two camps.
1. If I didn’t forward on to 10 people then something bad would happen.
2. If I sent to 10 people then all my wishes would come true.
So there we were a classroom of 12 year olds sending chain spam to all of sundry, thinking we were changing the order of the world by pressing the ‘Send’ button. Soon after we all realised that the power of happiness and health did not lie within a comic sans font email that displayed a beautiful yet deadly poem and got very bored.”
Sandeep Cavill, Digital Account Executive:
“I remember being at university and using search engines like AltaVista and Lycos for news and information. How times have changed….. it’s amazing how search has developed in a relatively short amount of time!”
Victoria Lynskey, Digital Account Executive:
“Although I had ICT classes at school (which I remember nothing of so they must have been useful), the first time I lost hours of my time on the internet was through MSN.
Although we had basic mobile phones, MSN was the first instant messaging service I’d ever used and it was a revolution for my social life as a 13 year old. Unlike mobile phones, everyone had MSN - complete with emoji filled usernames and their best selfie.
I suppose this could be described as the “original” social network, but hot on its heels came MySpace, Bebo & Neopets - and in recent years: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Skype, Pinterest (need I go on?). It’s crazy to think of how much this portion of the internet has grown in just 10 years!”
Keir Harness, Search Marketing Executive:
“Working in print in the late 90’s it was evident that the internet was reshaping not only individual access to information but redefining our relationship with it. Print media struggled to understand the web and its potential it was then I knew I had to understand how the internet worked. This was a fantastic education on how large businesses do or don’t cope with disruptive entries to a market, more importantly it sparked my passion and journey into understanding the internet and it’s cultural impact. I lived through the decline of one industry and took part in the rise of another.
Oh and the internet gave me the opportunity to meet my fantastic fiancee also - So happy birthday and thank you Sir Tim Berners Lee!”
Ed Wootton, Search Marketing Executive:
“I was (and still am to be honest) astounded the first time I made a video call to some relatives halfway across the world. It can be easy for distance to cause families to lose touch, but the web has meant that we can ‘be there’ for each other at the touch of a button, regardless of distance. In fact, I’ve often met members of my family for the first time over Skype!
It’s come a long way since those days of spending minutes waiting for the modem to connect. The internet has sped up massively, although it sometimes doesn’t feel like it in rural E. Anglia!”
Luke Burroughs, Digital Designer:
“My first encounter with the internet started one rainy evening when my dad brought home a pc from work and connected it up. I remember being blown away that I could find masses of pictures online of Sonic the Hedgehog. This meant an endless resource of things to draw. I think I was about 7 years old.
Since then, I can remember vividly setting up a basic website in FrontPage. It had 3 pages all in different colours, and each contained a link to get to the other. I wouldn’t be where I am today without meeting a friend online through some online forums. He introduced me to typography and from there on out, I wanted to be a designer.”
Emily Cox, Front End Lead Developer:
“Being about 10 or 11 when we first got the internet at home, I can't say that my first experiences went much further than playing games on Yahooligans. However, my love of games did lead onto discovering Neopets, where I got my first taster of HTML and CSS. Cutting and pasting little bits of markup into my shop to include awful animations and gaudy flashing backgrounds that would make any designer nowadays cry.
At 12, I was proud to publish my first ever web page - a Geocities site which existed only to tell the world about my hobbies, best friends and pet cats! Between that and building totally awesome custom profiles for my Myspace page, my love for the web grew and from then I knew building websites would be something I'd enjoy every day.”
Kriss Cox, Web Developer:
“I discovered the internet in 2002; A point when the majority of my friends were more interested in doing silly things like playing sports and talking to girls. I'd just been bought my first computer, a Dell with a whopping 64MB of RAM, and proceeded to install a Tiscali CD we'd received in the post.
Over the next several weeks I'd discovered a wealth of interesting things, and found myself thoroughly hooked. I'd made friends online (that I still talk to to this day) in huge MSN Messenger group chats. I'd had my first dip into Web Design with Geocities and Lycos, and it looked amazing - by the standards of a 13 year old.
The internet shaped me from that point onwards; I had access to a vast amount of information and could gain any knowledge I wanted without having to read boring books. If it wasn't for that first computer, I'd probably be doing something completely uninteresting, like running for Prime Minister - the horror!”
Matt Rogowski, Web Developer:
“My earliest memory of the internet would have to be playing MMOs and flash games instead of doing homework, using website builders to create lame sites about yourself complete with guest book and hit counter, seeing who could have the most emoticons and best song lyrics in their MSN screen names, and being shouted at to get off the line because somebody needed the phone.
However I then ended up getting into forum software, the successor to the old BBSs, taught myself web development, and ended up where I am today.”
Shaun Wall, Junior Web Developer:
“For a long time, "The Internet" was this magical entity which contained GameFAQs, MySpace and Google, and allowed me to play Quake online.
Aside from a little dabbling in customising my MySpace profile and setting up a Lycos site, that's as far as my relationship with it went until University, where I had a couple of "web dev" modules including HTML and PHP.
Within a couple of days I'd created a basic website with garish background colour choices and content which was dynamically added in from a database, and with a stupid grin stuck to my face, my mind raced with the possibilities of this magical combination of languages.
It's crazy to think how far it's come, from AOL's "Internet on a CD" and the tension of listening to the 56k modem connect, to having pretty much everything in modern life be web-based.
I'm pretty excited to see where it goes in the next 25 years!”
Richard Evans, Web Developer:
“My first vivid memory of using the internet would be using the school computers pre 2000 to browse for WWF news and information, to the annoyance of the teachers during lesson time I'm sure! I also may have abused printer privileges by printing full colour posters of my favourite wrestlers - sorry environment!
Around that time we would also attempt to listen to music, searching for 'MP3 sites' which offered you the ability to listen to songs over the internet, which at the time was a total pain! Waiting 10 minutes for Rollin', My Generation, and Teenage Dirtbag to buffer via RealPlayer was totally worth it though.
The epiphany moment for me came when playing my first computer games online and the realisation of not only competing against real people but the fact that they were located all over the world, miles away but being represented as pixels on my screen just metres away. A truly connected world!”
Owen Melbourne, Front End Developer:
“The first thing I remember is my parents buying a laptop, a big chunky toshiba! It came with 56k AOL on it, and one day I went onto the homepage and accidently clicked “Nike Swimwear for Women”. In a panic knowing my parents would think I was looking for naughty stuff, I had to quickly learn my way around so as to hide my tracks!
From this point on I carried on playing with the web and eventually built my first ever website on freewebs for a counter-strike 1.6 clan made of friends from school which everybody loved. I gained great satisfaction from people enjoying what I’d built, so I just carried on!”
I’m sure many of these stories will sound familiar, I mean, who didn’t use MSN at least once? And I’m almost certain everyone remembers that sound. Anyway, It’s a resounding “hip, hip, hooray!” from everyone here, so all that is left to do is blow out the candles and shout “Happy Birthday World Wide Web!”, and here’s to many more.