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Why Has The WWW Become So Popular, So Fast?

  Crossing all bounds of culture, in the span of less than a decade, the number of people using the Internet has leaped from less than 16 million to over 605 million (Nua). The Internet began in 1969 by connecting together four university computers systems mainly for research purposes (ISOC). Twenty years later, as the technology improved while standards were agreed upon, researchers for information exchange still exclusively used the Internet, however many computer enthusiasts along with business entrepreneurs began to experiment with the possibilities.
  The Internet desperately needed a means for the average person to access the information without requiring much technical knowledge. The solution came from Tim Berners-Lee who invented a small computer program known as a Web browser. The effect of this invention launched the world wide web into existence because almost anyone with a little bit of computer knowledge, along with a computer of course, could access information on the Internet.
  Another important feature of Berners-Lee’s browser invention was the small amount of skill required to build web sites because he purposely designed his browser so web sites were very easy to construct. The design significance is almost as important as the invention itself since this allowed almost anyone to build their own website thus rapidly adding to the wealth of information already available. With the browser invented, about a microsecond passed before the possibilities began apparent, therefore by 1997 over a 100 million people signed onto the information superhighway for personal information, entertainment and communication.
  Email quickly became a popular item effectively creating a culture all of its own. Not only did email allow for almost instant communication, but the effects of being able to send a single message to potentially millions of people instantly gave the advertising industry a whole new market. The response from the entertainment industry was identical, including a whole new market for adult entertainment never before experienced. One possible cause of the tremendous growth of online media may be contributed to the confidential private nature of the web.
  With ease of use established, the domain naming system created a technological land rush. Information almost always requires identity, hence the reason for creating the domain naming system; an easy way to identify the location of information by relating words (easy to remember) to an internet protocol address number (hard to remember). Being able to type in www.cnn.com proved far easier than remembering A domain name also indicates who is hosting the information thereby adding accountability and quality.
  Ease of use and address association are certainly factors in what has brought the world wide web to the masses so quickly, however the primary aspect relating to why the world wide web has grown so fast may be the tremendous amount of information literally at one’s fingertips. Since the dawn of time, the human race has always been fascinated with communication; providing information and gathering information. With a few simple key strokes, one can find out information on just about anything, including the projection that some 801 million people will use the internet this year (Global Reach). Those 801 million people will have access to more than 44 million active domain names (Whois). Interestingly enough almost half that number have been used and deleted. The content of those 44 million domains is as diverse as the human race itself, almost acting as a barometer for mankind. Should some alien race want to study the zeitgeist of the human race, they no longer need to capture us to read our minds, they can see it all online.
  If someone where asked what they use the Internet for the answer would probably be fairly personalized based upon their own needs and interests. These needs may include email, up to the minute news, information related to interests or hobbies, searching for people, listening to the radio, accessing encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauruses, almanacs, calculators, purchase just about anything, research, making reservations for hotels, airplanes, or trains, visiting sites related to travel plans, printing out maps with step by step directions for trips, chatting with anyone one (who could be anywhere in the world pretending to be somebody else), ordering a pizza, earn a degree, search for a mate, viewing weather reports, looking up telephone and addresses for people and businesses, finding sports information, banking, sending electronic cards, accessing product reviews, obtaining real time science data, downloading IRS tax forms, researching companies, finding a job, searching for an employee, buying as well as selling stocks, or using a search engine to find general information, just to name a few (Internet Uses).
  In 1995, at a press conference while promoting Microsoft’s new bulletin board system, Bill Gates downplayed the Internet as a fad (Webmasters Inc). He may not have realized the world wide web would provide so much incredibly useful information with such ease thereby transforming our culture at an astounding rate.

Works Cited
Electronic Beowulf. Ed. Kevin Kiernan. 2003.
5 Sept. 2003 eBeowulf/guide.htm>.

Nua Jupitermedia Corporation 2004 15 Oct 2004 .

ISOC Internet Society A Brief History of the Internet Barry M. Leiner, Vinton G. Cerf, David D. Clark,Robert E. Kahn, Leonard Kleinrock, Daniel C. Lynch,Jon Postel, Larry G. Roberts, Stephen Wolff 11 Oct 2004

NUA Jupitermedia Corporation 1996 15 Oct 2004

Global Reach 2004 16 Oct 2004

Whois Domain Counts 17 October 2004

Internet Uses Cathy Chamberlain 17 October 2004

Webmasters Inc. Jake Davenport 26 Feb 2001