The internet as we know it came to the fore in 1976 when an email was sent from a beer garden in California to a computer in Boston. As far back as 1969 Arpanet helped developed internet technology by providing connected databases of information to share between governmental agencies and universities – but the Arpanet databases were fixed to one point and cumbersome to move. Arpa researchers in 1974 began to develop a code of how internet worked computers would communicate. This code was then used to transmit messages that operated on a universal system. The past 40 years have achieved more technological advances as a result than the previous 400 – but what are the greatest developments that have further revolutionised the internet age?
Now considered the norm, used in various security devices and car reversing software, live streaming for entertainment purposes was fairly revolutionary when it first grew with online gaming. Twitter’s home-grown livestreaming service, Periscope, allowed audiences to tune into the inner thoughts of celebrities as they went about their daily lives – and allowed celebrities with big followings to monetise their live streams with relevant advertisers. Online gaming found its niche with livestreaming in the form of Twitch, which has a reported 45 million users per month, who stream games from retro PS1 classics to the latest eSports. Facebook began offering a live mode in 2014, which cornered the market for promotional live streaming – and then YouTube has recently announced its live-streaming mobile opportunities. Live streaming works best though for online gaming and the technology allows multiple people to be playing the same game and broadcasting it with spectators and other players. Similar technology can be found in iGaming, such as the live dealer technology available through casino sites. The live casino options help recreate the atmosphere that would be present at a casino to give the player a similar feel without having to leave their sofa. Live streaming allows us to share more experiences in the world, building on the founding principles of the internet being a mass database for knowledge.
In 2004, nobody could have known how influential Mark Zuckerberg would be. In 2006, nobody could have anticipated how important a little blue bird would be to our lives. The same goes for Instagram in 2010 and Snapchat in 2011. Social media is possibly one of the most revolutionary aspects of the modern internet age. From US Presidents dictating policy in 140 characters to people being paid to document their lives through photos, social media means we are more connected now than we have ever been before. Social media has even spawned a series of jobs – well paid ones – that allow people to spend their days crafting content. The goal of Twitter is to aid connection, which can be seen through its developments such as focusing more on the Connect tab and upping the amount of available characters to tweet to someone. For marketing, social media has opened up channels to consumers that were never there before. While communication is easier between both parties, it’s a lot easier for brands to communicate who they are as a brand through social media and connect with the right kind of customers to lead to sales. Social media is revolutionary because the internet’s goal has finally been achieved by making the majority of the world connected through one cohesive platform.
Some argue that the law of diminished returns states that we have achieved our great technological innovations, and like the iPhone, have little room to grow with new ideas. Indeed, the internet appears to have reached the end of its revolution as there is nothing else to improve upon. Without bringing in AI and VR technology, the current internet system does exactly as it set out to do, and continues to make small steps forwards in the right direction. The internet has gone through decades of changes and it just might be true that the best of the revolution has already happened.