Twenty-five years ago today – March 15, 1985 – the first dot-com domain name – Symbolics.com – was registered and appeared on the internet. It ushered in the commercial age of the World Wide Web. Then development was deadly slow and it took over two years for the first 100 sites to go online and by 1995, the number had grown to 18,000.
Almost everyone across the world use the internet today at work, home or in school. The trend is fast catching up in Africa where a lot of people use it for social networking on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
I engaged a group of Facebook users in some parts of Africa to ponder over the question: What does the internet mean for you after 25 years of the dot-com?
“For me the internet is a work station where I get dirty and get paid from it. It may have its own challenges and threats but I guess over the last 25yrs, the Internet has proved to be a very valuable tool for my daily life. I think for me internet is life. You see why I say Internet is life? You and I are able to chat and exchange ideas within a click of a keyboard compared to the past when you had to get into the field to seek interviews or push in media queries which took more time to be attended to.
“So let’s embrace the internet but we also need to look out for its dangers. You work well and have fun with the internet but most of all use it for your research on your story,” Sanday Chongo Kabange, journalist based in Zambia.
Benard Ampadu, Graphic Designer in Accra, Ghana: “The internet is www – I mean World Wide Web. In other words it’s universal and to me I can do all things online and achieve my aim.”
“The internet saves me a lot of time in terms of getting things done as well as money in terms of calls. I use it to access information in the enhancement of my job as a marketing officer,” Alhassan Abubakar Sadiq, Accra, Ghana.
“It is the greatest thing that has even happened in the world by humans. With the internet I’m able to make free calls around the world. It’s really fascinating and I just don’t know how to describe it,” Jean Claude Ocloo, Togolese.
“It’s my life and my career revolves around it. I can’t do without it. I can’t imagine the world without an internet,” Joseph Appiah-Dolphyne, an editor of Africanews.com noted.
Clyde of South Africa said: “It’s second to life. It powers my career and dictates my daily life although I make the command.”
The Internet has grown to more than 80 million dot-com domain names, according to the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF). Crunching the numbers, 99.9 percent of all Internet growth has occurred over the past 15 years.
“The global diffusion of the commercial Internet has occurred with astounding speed,” says the ITIF report “The Internet Economy 25 Years After .Com.” “Every country on Earth, developed and developing alike, has adopted the Internet.”