The Internet Society: Emergence of the Online World in 1995
In 1995, the internet turned what was once a place for researchers and the technologically proficient into a household concept.
The Transformation and Growth of the Internet Society
The novelty days of the World Wide Web tend to be recalled in sharply different ways. One way is to remember them wistfully, as an innocent time when browsing came into fashion, when the still-new Web offered serendipity, mystery, and the whiff of adventure. The prominent technology skeptic Evgeny Morozov gave expression to early-Web nostalgia in a lush essay a few years ago that lamented the passing of cyberflânerie, the pleasure of wandering leisurely online without knowing where one would go or what one might find. He wrote that those days of slowly loading Web pages and “the funky buzz of the modem” offered “their own weird poetics” and the promise of “opening new spaces for play and interpretation.”
Far more common than gauzy nostalgia is to look back at the early Web with bemusement and sarcasm, to liken the emergent online world of the mid-1990s to a primordial place, when the environment of the Web was mostly barren and boring, not a place to linger, not a place to do much at all. The “Jurassic Web,” Farhad Manjoo called it, in an essay posted at Slate.com. What’s “striking about the old Web,” he wrote, “is how unsure everyone seemed to be about what the new medium was for.”