Written by Falola Yinka (with additional reporting by Ogunbowale Olugbenga)

 

Have you seen the latest gossip on linda’s blog?

Adekunle Gold’s GOLD album is trending on twitter, have you heard any track?

Millions of naira was raised via GoFundMe for #SaveMayowa campaign in few days. Did you follow the story?

Enough of the jamb questions. Ok. One more.

Have you ever thought of a world where phrases like ‘trending’, ‘hashtag’, ‘blog’ and ‘crowdfunding’ mean nothing? Imagine having to travel to University of Madiguri all the way from Lagos simply because a research material you need can only be sourced from its university library: that, certainly, is a thing of the past now as the World Wide Web has democratized information, globally and freely, making information accessible at the twinkle of an eye.

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It wasn’t always so.

Just 25 years ago, a young English computer scientist who had proposed an information management system implemented and deployed for the first time a publicly accessible World Wide Web. This is quite remarkable because the web as we now know it was central to the development of the Information Age and is still the primary tool billions of people use to interact on the Internet.

The internet and the World Wide Web are however not interchangeable. The internet (DARPA) was first connected in 1969, and refers to the network that carries information between nodes. The World Wide Web meanwhile refers to the space on this network where information, such as web pages and documents, are stored.

 

One Big Idea

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The idea for the Web was simple: provide a common format for documents stored on server computers, and give each document a unique name that can be used by a browser program to locate and retrieve the document. Although the Web was originally intended to improve communications within the physics community at CERN described as “a universal linked information system” to help scientists collaborate, combining the internet with hypertext, but like e-mail 20 years earlier, it rapidly became the new killer application for the Internet.

 

Tim’s exact words

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“I just had to take the hypertext idea and connect it to the Transmission Control Protocol and domain name system ideas and—ta-da!—the World Wide Web … Creating the web was really an act of desperation, because the situation without it was very difficult when I was working at CERN later. Most of the technology involved in the web, like the hypertext, like the Internet, multifont text objects, had all been designed already. I just had to put them together. It was a step of generalising, going to a higher level of abstraction, thinking about all the documentation systems out there as being possibly part of a larger imaginary documentation system.”

 

On the need to make the web open he noted

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“Had the technology been proprietary, and in my total control, it would probably not have taken off,”

“The decision to make the web an open system was necessary for it to be universal. You can’t propose that something be a universal space and at the same time keep control of it.”

 

The World Wide Web is a trailblazer by far

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We check our smartphones when we wake up in the morning, and that’s the last thing we do at night.

Thanks to the digital age, global trade which was once confined to advanced economies and large multinationals has now opened up to developing countries, start-ups, and to millions of African youths like you & I.

Want to share your crazy cat video with the world? Youtube. Searching for a job? Jobberman. Want to buy a new shoe? Jumia. Want to transfer money? Bank App.

Approximately 12 percent of the global goods trade is conducted via international e-commerce. Today, Individuals are using digital platforms to learn, find work, showcase their talent, and build personal networks worldwide.

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To emphasize the success of his dream around 3.17 billion people use or have access to the World Wide Web at last count in 2015, which is 43% of the world’s 7.4 billion population and much of this is credited to the ease of availability of resources on the internet. The Internaut day, celebrated every 23rd of August is an anniversary of the World Wide Web as it was opened to new users after that day in 1991.

I got to know Tim at the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony where he was famously celebrated as the Father of the internet, an honor well deserved as I still wonder how many of us would have written our thesis, hooked up with old friends & met new ones or even come across enlightening articles like this without the incredibly selfless vision of Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

Tim must be proud.

 

Internaut: “designer, operator, or technically capable user of the internet”.

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