It’s the middle of summer vacation and you’re watching a really interesting movie with all your cousins. It’s a gripping sci-fi movie where a group of scientists have to fight off an alien invasion. The plot is getting thicker, and one of the scientists discovers that Trichosporon can kill the aliens! But…wait…what exactly is Trichosporon? You ask your cousins, but none of them has heard of it either.
What’s the easiest way for you to find out what Trichosporon is in this situation?
The answer, of course, is searching the internet.
But what if you did not have access to an internet connection? Where would you get the information then?
You would most likely have to go to a library and spend hours poring over books to find the relevant information (there goes your movie). But with the internet, you have an entire library at your fingertips!
The internet makes our lives easy in so many ways. Even during this lockdown, the internet is helping us find information, stay connected with our loved ones, and explore the world while sitting at home! But what exactly is the internet?
When you have an internet connection on your home computer, it becomes a part of this global network!
Wifi and broadband are not the “internet”. They are methods to connect to this network called the internet.
Let’s take a look at where exactly the internet came from.
An Experiment For The Military
The internet began in the 1960s as an experiment for the US military. During this time the USA was in a Cold War with Russia, and the US military wanted a secure way to communicate amongst themselves. So, their research department called the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), created something called the ARPANET. This was the first time that computers could talk to each other on a network. ARPANET later went on to connect computers that were part of major universities in the USA like Stanford University and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
The first message that UCLA sent to Stanford University using the ARPANET cost them roughly $700,000!
The Network Grows
By the 1980s scientists realised that if the computers in the science departments of colleges across the USA were connected to each other, then they would be able to share data easily and this would help research. So a separate network called National Science Foundation Network (NSFNET) was formed.
Slowly the NSFNET started connecting more and more computers becoming the backbone of the internet.
The NSFNET connected the first five supercomputers in the USA!
The Birth Of Websites
By the 1990s, many businesses and homes started connecting their computers to the internet. However, there still wasn’t a standard way in which information could be shared on the internet. That’s when Tim Berners-Lee of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) created the hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) to build websites. Using HTTP, different computers could access the same websites. This made sharing information over the internet much easier and saw a huge boom in the number of websites!
The term “surfing the internet” was coined by a librarian in one of her articles in 1992. The term became so popular that we still use it today!
Social Media And Beyond
If you remember where we started, we defined the internet as a network that connected computers. But today, are computers the only thing on the internet?
Now you can have devices like smartphones, televisions, tablets, and even refrigerators on the internet! The network formed by all these devices together is called Web 2.0. Apart from the type of devices, the kind of content on the internet has also seen a change. Initially, most of the information on the internet was made only by a few people, but now the content on the internet is user-generated. This means that people using the internet are creating content on it! This includes posts we see on social media and comments we leave on blogs like this one!
There are 3.9 billion social media users. That’s 49% of the world’s population!
Starting all the way from ARPANET, where computers could only send each other text-based messages, to the world of the internet we have today is very different.
One of the major reasons that the internet expanded beyond a military experiment is because people realised the power of sharing information. Only when we share information and use it in the right way can we grow and develop together. With the easy access you have to the internet, you can learn a lot of things if you use the information wisely.
Do you remember the first thing you searched on the internet? Share your knowledge in the comments!
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Deepthi is an ambivert who is on a steady diet of good food, filter coffee, and self-improvement. Being an ardent reader, storytelling has been her first love and she enjoys exploring how to convey stories compellingly. Having studied psychology and experienced the learning and development field, Deepthi is driven to understand human behavior and to know what makes each of us unique. You are most likely to find her tucked into a cozy corner at a local cafe with a Kindle or a book in hand. If you find her there, stop by and say hello, she'd be eager to learn your story too. Until then, you can ping her at [email protected] for anything you may like to share.
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