How the Biggest Technological Marvel Changed My Life
The Web turned 30 years old on Tuesday. It’s hard to believe it’s been around that long. It’s totally changed the way I work and do business. I would never have imagined that when I first discovered it.
My First Introduction to the Internet
I first used the Internet in college — I found out about it through a guy I was dating who was tech-savvy. Back then though, I wasn’t actually on the Worldwide Web. He introduced me to two systems called WWIVnet and FidoNet. I could connect with others around the world through these two systems through bulletin boards, and could also get in touch with my cousin Jennifer, who was going to college in Tennessee.
Francis Marion Gets Email
The following year, Francis Marion introduced email accounts for their students. I went to the Academic Computer Center to set up one, and could email Jennifer and other people I knew instantaneously. I loved it! I could email someone and receive a response the same day. It was much faster to email my family and tell them how things were going than to send a “snail mail” letter. Later, my parents gave me a laptop I could use to pull email quicker. I found out from a friend how to forward calls to a dummy number that would ring constantly so I could get online without worrying about being booted off by an incoming call.
I Discover Netscape
The people at the Academic Computer Center also introduced me to Netscape, the first web browser I ever used. It didn’t look as nice as web browsers today look, but I could still access information and set up non-school email accounts.
When I graduated from college in 1997, I no longer had access to my school email or any way to access the web. That meant I had to look for another Internet provider. That was when I discovered American Online. It was an even nicer looking BBS and chat system, and it gave me access to the Internet and my email account. I used AOL to communicate with others. I met my husband there too when I put an ad on a message board for singles. We talked on America Online for, then had our first date in December 1998.
Communicating with him during those early days was tough — I only had one phone line which I used for both phone calls and getting on the internet, so if he called me and got a busy signal, it was usually because I was on America Online. Eventually he helped me get a second phone line installed that would be only for my computer.
Then, high-speed Internet was introduced. We didn’t need a second phone line; it worked through our cable connection. That meant I could do away with the second phone line. High-speed internet was so much better — it was faster and more reliable. I could get information in a few seconds rather than a few minutes, and I didn’t have to worry about getting booted offline. Because of high-speed Internet, I started working from home in 2003, and have worked from home for different companies ever since.
It’s fair to say the Worldwide Web and the technology that has been developed because of it have changed the way we live and do business. If you were around when the Worldwide Web was introduced, what do you remember about it? Comment below.