The world wide web at 25

March 12th, 2014

The World Wide Web is 25 years old today. To celebrate we asked our donor liaison officer Annie Halliman, who is also 25, to say how the web has transformed her life and Kieran Walden, our IT apprentice, to describe how it has transformed Practical Actions work. 

It is the World Wide Web’s birthday! The internet has today turned 25 years old, the same age as me. I was surprised to hear quite how long the internet has been around, however, I struggle to remember a time when it was not a part of my life, and it is now something that I use every day and I must admit that I cannot imagine how my daily life would function without it!

internet_2837932bI first started using the internet regularly as a young teenager when I would chat with my school friends via MSN messenger, and I now consider it a vital tool for keeping in contact with my friends and family, both near and far.  Using social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram enables me to quickly scan for updates as well as using email for more detailed contact. This contact means that even though I live hundreds of miles from my family and most of my close friends, I can maintain these relationships despite the distance.

I do often think of the perhaps negative impact that the ease of access to the internet has had, for example, Facebook enables me to keep up to date with friends without ever having to personally contact them, although this can be seen as a plus, it makes for lazy friendships. Additionally, having 24 hour access on my phone means that I check my social media far more often than necessary; which for some people can create unhealthy addictions, checking for updates every few minutes.

I also use the World Wide Web as a consumer; shopping for clothes, gifts, groceries, travel and much more. By accessing shops online, the choice is limitless and shopping around for deals makes shopping more economical as well.

I also use the web to keep up to date with news and also media, catching up on TV with iPlayers and listening to podcasts. It was also a vital tool when looking for and applying for jobs, as well as when looking for a new home. I also manage my finances and bills using the internet.

When I sat to write this blog and thought about it, it made me realise that there are very few areas of my life that don’t involve the use of the World Wide Web in some way.

Kieran Walden writes

World Wide Web’s 25th Anniversary

Kieran sets up equipment for video conferencing with our overseas offices

Kieran sets up equipment for video conferencing with our overseas offices

The World Wide Web’s 25th anniversary is a time to reflect on how Practical Action as an organisation has benefited.

Technology is more advanced than ever and with the internet being at the source of it all we are able to communicate and collaborate better in the way that we conduct out work. The internet has enabled us to use technologies such as video conferencing which lets members of staff have a productive meeting with people on the other side of the world! This effectively increases performance in the work that we do.  Fast and reliable email communication internally and externally helps us spread our work and promotes technology justice. Our website on the internet draws in donors that read about our work and helps improve lives.

From an IT perspective the internet has spawned services such as Office 365, Microsoft Lync and SharePoint which are cloud based systems. The ‘cloud’ has been a massive impact as it saves on hardware, software, licensing costs and reduces power consumption in all of our country offices as well as being a more advanced and dependable service.

Practical Action will keep on moving forward and the internet will carry on being a vital tool that we need. Future plans consist of bandwidth becoming more available and at cheaper cost which will help us implement better services in the future.

And the money saved will help Practical Action become more flexible and better able to fight poverty.

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