Written by Reginald Chan on August 5, 2020

How Has the Internet Changed in the Last 20 Years?

The internet has revolutionized the way we operate businesses, how we consume information and music, and how we communicate. However, this was not the case two decades ago. The internet was created in 1989, and ever since, it has gone through a period of transition. 

This article will continue to explain in detail how the internet has changed in the last two decades to understand how everything came to be as it is now.

Social Network in the early 2000s

By 2001, Wikipedia was already emerging as a top online hub for information. It grew even more once Encyclopaedia Britannica 1911 came to the public domain.

However, one of the most notable improvements was experienced when Apple was able to lay a foundation for its steady growth, as we see today. iTunes came in to allow subscribers to download their favorite commercial jams legally and make 250,000 sales in just a day. This brought to a halt the reign of the Walkman and the disc. People were now able to download infinite songs, and they did not face the risk of scratching disks and skipping tracks anymore.

Skype was also invented as a way through which users could call each other for free on the network. However, there were more developments at hand, and soon, the platform was developed for messaging and videoconferencing. Beyond videoconferencing, this technology found use in the medical industry, allowing physicians to treat their patients from afar.

By 2003, Linkedin and MySpace were launched, giving rise to social media sites as we know them today. Later in 2004, one of the most revolutionary social media sites, Facebook was invented by Mark Zuckerberg. Today, Facebook owns WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger, making it a social media giant.

The Smartphone Revolution in the Mid-2000s

Before, internet users could access the internet through dial-up connections. However, this was a slow and excruciating process. For instance, a 6 MB picture could take up to 15 minutes to download. Today, it takes approximately 2 seconds. The smartphone revolution began with the development of YouTube and, subsequently, the blogging culture.

YouTube was developed in 2005 as a video-sharing website, thanks to the growing popularity of audio-sharing that provided a foundation. Google later purchased YouTube for an astounding $1.65 billion.

Twitter began as a microblogging site and allowed for an instant wider reach to an audience. As Facebook opened its doors to the public domain, the first iPhone was released, revolutionizing the internet as now, people could access it on the go.

People no longer had to be on the desktop to access the internet, and apple tapped into its growing market by launching an App Store that contained up to 500 applications.

Android was founded in 2003 and later bought by Google. Android soon had an app store after the launching of the iPhone, too, allowing users to download applications and perform different tasks.

Social Causes 

The internet has also been used for social good, especially in the 2010s. After the discovery of social media, it has been used as a tool for encouraging social change. From as early as 2011, there have been online protests organized through social media, including the Egyptian uprising and protests that helped oust Hosni Mubarak, the dictator president of Egypt. In the same light, online hashtags were used to highlight the plight of Nigerian girls kidnapped by the Boko Haram so that they could return home.

It is also in the 2010s that there has been a rise in the vlogging/video blogging culture during this time, and these kinds of bloggers cover content from all niches, including cooking, fashion, beauty, travel, and much more. The result is a multi-billion dollar industry that is quickly changing how advertising works.

The Internet and Business

Businesses have recently embraced the power of the internet into their operations. Two essential functions that are now carried out over the internet include cloud storage and online marketing. Consumers tend to look for brands online and do not necessarily have to walk into a brick-and-mortar store to get what they need. Brand messages are delivered through mobile phones and browsers anytime and anywhere. Businesses have learned to exploit these platforms and are now sending commercial messages to get noticed. It is now common to see an advertisement just before reading a news story. The print industry as a medium for publication and dissemination of information has declined because of the presence of information online.

Businesses have also changed the way they collect and store information. Instead of stocking piles of paper in a warehouse, data is processed differently. Email marketing, social media, and cookies help businesses collect data that helps companies understand their customers. Data protection laws have come up, as a result, to help protect consumers and activities as well. Business processes such as data storage are now done on the cloud, which has helped businesses to operate more efficiently. 

There are companies out there that focus their attention on offering managed IT services customized to a business's needs. You can click here to have a detailed understanding of how companies can benefit from these services. Some of the services beneficial to companies resulting from the internet business revolution include enhanced cybersecurity, maintenance of IT systems, electronic recycling, and cloud services. These solutions ensure that a business can be operated from anywhere, and the data will be safe. This improved efficiency and convenience make companies more likely to buy these products.

There have been more tremendous changes in the last two decades. One of the notable advancements in the wake of the 21st century was the development of social media platforms. Today, the social media movement has become a force that cannot be stopped. Smartphones also came in and revolutionized how we accessed the internet, and now, people can connect only with the touch of a button. The internet has been a driver of social change and has impacted how businesses are conducted, and data is extracted and stored. Further changes of the world we know today are yet to come.

Article written by Reginald Chan
A meticulous entrepreneur by nature, Reginald is a sought-after success coach, digital marketing consultant and TEDx speaker from Asia. Currently, he teaches others how to make money online for free.

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