I’m sure you’ll agree as you get your bill for internet access, or for your hosting account if you have a website. It’s not free at all, is it!
Well, the ‘internet’ may not be free, but the world wide web is – what’s the difference, and how does it impact you?
The internet has been around for a lot longer than 20 years, but it was back in the late 1980s that Briton Tim Berners-Lee thought along with others that there must be a way of unifying the different set ups on the internet, to make it accessible without all the individual protocols.
He came up with the World Wide Web, which had set ways of programming and connecting, and it was on April 30th 1993 that CERN announced that it was putting the world wide web into the public domain.
That meant they renounced any intellectual rights to the web, but also that stopped anyone laying claim. It would be free.
You may have to pay to go online, you may have to pay for your own hosting space there, but the system that allows you to access other websites, and allows others to access yours, the world wide web, is free.
If you don’t like a particular browser, you can use another one, because whoever owns the rights to your browser software does not own the right to the world wide web.
If you don’t like a particular provider of hosting space, go to another, because they do not own the rights to the world wide web.
And so on and so on, you get the idea – how you access and navigate the internet can be charged, but the world wide web cannot.
It’s an opportunity that wasn’t around when I was growing up. I had to make do with the telephone, with 35mm cameras, with letters, with books.
The information I had access to was slower, and much more difficult to access on a large scale. The difference now is that I can just nip online and hit the search engines, or can email anyone, or go on a social network.
If I want to find out how to do something, it’ll only take a couple of clicks and I can see almost too much information, so much that I have to filter where to start!
That also means that I can put myself out there to anyone in the world who is on the web. Full colour, sound, video, as much as I want, either with full access, or access controlled by me.
Many people say that the world wide web has harmed society, that people have gone introspective, living their lives through a screen rather than in the real world.
There is some logic to that, and you do have to wonder what the kids of today will grow into as adults. I climbed trees and ran away from girls. Boys of today swish away at fancy tablet devices, they climb trees in games, and potentially see girls doing all sorts of things.
It’s all about pros and cons.
Long time readers of mine will know that I like to focus on the positives, (something I did years before the web came along!), to wonder at the opportunities. We could put our heads in the sand and try to ignore the web, but it’s not going to disappear anytime soon.
I like to think of how we can use this virtual place to make a difference in the real world – after all, you’re reading this article on the web, and I don’t know where you are in the world or what time it is where you are, but what I write might just make you think in a different way.
*That’s* what I call opportunity! So, on the 20th anniversary of the announcement of a free world wide web, how do you use this opportunity – negatively or positively?
Let me know what you think – I love the feedback!
‘Til Next Time,
Health & happiness,
P.S. You can read more about taking advantage of opportunity in my book ‘Transform Your Life in 21 Days!’