Thursday, September 15, 2005

What is a Decade in Internet Time?

I was recently doing some research into potential freelance writers my company could use on a few upcoming projects, and I was struck by someone mentioning "getting bit by the Internet bug in 1997". On its face, that isn't such a strange statement. What was strange to me was how late that seemed initially. Thinking about it though, 1997 is a lot farther away from now that it is from when I first started fooling around with the Internets.

This is sort of my 10-year Internet anniversary. I can't really pinpoint the exact date, but 10 years ago sometime in the early fall, the Internet and the Web became a very large part of my job description. Since I was the only one with any interest in this new medium who was in the office most of the time, it became my job to start formulating an Internet strategy for the company where I then worked and to design their website for them (which, thank God, I see that they've finally updated--about four years too late).

To put this into perspective (some information from A Computer Geek's History of the Internet):
  • My company got most of it's information online from gopher sites
  • Yahoo had been in existence about a year and a half.
  • Netscape had only been available for a year
  • Netcom was a major ISP
  • Amazon.com had just been launched
  • Windows '95 and Internet Explorer had just come out
Seems like a long time ago doesn't it. (But in a way it still seems like yesterday.)

For someone in my position, its hard not to be a little nostalgic, especially at the "go-go" days of the Internet gold rush. Sure, I'm the first one to poke fun at some of the excesses of the time. (Does anyone else remember boo.com?) But, the truth is that I--and a lot of other people--help to build something most people take for granted today. In fact, most of you, at one time or another, has a seen a webpage with my fingerprints on it somewhere, even if it's not obvious or something that's ignored like a ad banner. In any case, there's been a lot of water under the bridge.

Despite numerous bouts of unemployment and underemployment since the bubble burst, it's been worth it I guess. This just seemed a good place and time to look back a little for a couple of reasons. First, I really like what I'm doing now, and the company I work for is cool in all the good 90s ways while still being stable. And second, this site is my third (or fourth if geocities counts) foray into what has become known as blogging, so it seems appropriate to think about such things here anyway. Thank goodness there aren't any versions of my earlier attempts still cached somewhere (at least as far as I know).

NP: "The Day After the Revolution" - Pulp

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