The World Wide Web turned 25 on March 12. Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s 1989 invention transformed the Internet from the geeky domain of techies and scientists into a tool for the masses.
The Web made it possible for ordinary people to access the collective wisdom of the ages. It created far-flung communities of interest, shrinking the world to the distance between one’s seat and the nearest screen. It spread the news in ways that shaped public opinion, influenced elections, spawned revolutions and started countless millions of dinner-table arguments.
It reshaped business in all ways, improving R&D, encouraging employee collaboration and opening up entirely new marketing channels.
It gave us Grumpy Cat and Justin Bieber.
The Web’s wide reach shows in the lightning speed at which access has grown. When the Pew Research Center began tracking Internet use in 1995, only 14% of Americans could go online. Now, 87% of us can.