There’s been some coverage in the last few days of the Webby Awards Top “Ten Most Influential Internet Moments of the Decade” – incidentally how bad a name are the “Webby Awards”? It’s like deciding to to nickname the Oscars, the “Filmies”. Anyway I digress but the list makes for good reading. Like any of these “best of lists”, the selection is subjective matter and you may disagree – for instance I would argue that the proliferation of broadband in households in the last ten years has proved a watershed moment for the internet and its growth as a medium.
Agree or not, I have picked out my three key moments from the list:
- Google AdWords launches (2000) – this was massive. It’s when Google turned internet advertising into a multi-billion dollar industry. It was also an advertiser’s dream – reaching people who were already looking for your product /service no matter how niche. Everyone has been playing catch-up since.
- Wikipedia launches (2001) – This is probably the best example of “free” and how the internet turned the regular offline economy on its head. Imagine someone telling you ten years ago that there would be a reference site where you could find out information on practically any subject for free, and that the content was provided on a collaborative basis by unpaid volunteers. Exactly, you wouldn’t have seen it coming.
- Facebook opens to non-college students and Twitter takes off (2006) – social networks, the success story of the Noughties. So simple an idea, you wish you had thought of it first. For me, this is when people starting using the internet in a different way. Previously people used it in a very functional way – to pay bills, read email, find out more information, etc. Now it is one of the main ways people are spending their leisure time, essentially “lean back” time like when we used to watch TV in the living room.