The Internet: Then & Now

In 1969, when the internet was nothing more than an intriguing military communication network, few could have imagined the far reaching impact of the then-budding technology. You don't need me to tell you how deeply integrated the internet is in our daily lives today. It is a communication and information highway. It is a way to distribute entertainment, and consumes more of our leisure time than we may want to admit. It gives voice to the marginalized and forgotten. It is the incubator of innovation.

So how much has changed since the dawn of the internet age? Just about everything. We've pulled together a quick video that runs through some of the most staggering statistics available to describe the meteoric growth of the internet. Take a look:

How has your internet usage changed over the years?

For starters, the way you communicate and share information has changed. Considering that over three million emails are sent every second, it's likely that email has become a huge part of your work day. When you aren't working (and sometimes when you are), you probably use social media to communicate with your friend, and contribute to the seven billion social media shares that happen every day. Whether you're looking for a recipe, the lyrics to that song you just heard, or a local Thai restaurant it's the internet you turn to for help.

For many of us, the way we unwind at the end of the day is powered by the internet. The rapid rise of streaming video over the internet has the cable networks scrambling.

Gone are the days when a bricks-and-mortar retailer had your undivided attention. When it's time to replace your smartphone you will probably turned to the internet to democratize the search for your new device.

Your internet usage has changed over the years, and these are just some of the ways. One of the primary enablers of that change has been the rapid increase in connection speed. Those of us in the over-30 crowd can remember the days of waiting (and listening) for a dial-up modem to make a connection, and 30 minute (or longer) software update downloads. Without the blazing speeds we enjoy today the integration of the internet into the fabric of our daily lives would have been stunted.

Looking Ahead

The internet has come a long way, and at less than 50 years old, the digital revolution is just getting started. Looking back at how far we've come begs the question: What will the internet look like in another 50 years?


Related Resources and Blog Posts:

History of Search Engines - Remember AltaVista and HotBot? Also learn about Google -- before it was a household name.

The Rise and Fall of Instant Messengers - ICQ, AIM, ASL?

Looking Ahead: The Future of the Internet - We illustrate the (possible) future of technology.

ARPANET and Beyond - How the internet was born. A visual history of the world wide web.