The Internet is a system of interconnected computer networks linking billions of machines worldwide using the TCP/IP Internet protocol suite. Use of the Internet in the West expanded rapidly throughout the 1990s, growing over 100x within two decades.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, numerous packet switching networks were developed, including Tymnet, Telenet and the eventual forerunner of the Internet, ARPANET. On October 29th, 1969, the first two connections of ARPANET were made between American engineer Leonard Kleinrock's Network Measurement Center at UCLA and inventor Douglas Engelbert's NLS system located in Menlo Park, California. By 1971, 15 ARPANET sites were connected. In 1974, the term "internet" was used as a shorthand for "internetworking" in a paper by Vinton Cerf, Yogen Dalal and Carl Sunshine. In the 1980s, the first Internet service providers were founded. In 1990, ARPANET was decommissioned and the first web page was posted on the internet. The Internet became fully commercialized in 1995. Since its inception, a variety of technologies utilizing the Internet emerged, including email, instant messaging, VoIP, video calling, the World Wide Web, social networking and e-commerce.
World Wide Web
The World Wide Web (WWW) refers to parts of the internet that contain documents identified by Uniform Resource Locators (URLs). On March 12th, 1989, the WWW was first proposed by computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee in a paper titled "Information Management: A Proposal."
On March 12th, 2019, a Google Doodle honoring the 30th anniversary of the WWW was released on the search engine homepage (shown below).
First Internet Memes
Godwin’s Law is an internet adage from 1990 that is derived from one of the earliest bits of Usenet wisdoms, which goes “if you mention Adolf Hitler or Nazis within a discussion thread, you’ve automatically ended whatever discussion you were taking part in.” Mike Godwin coined his observation as a “natural law of Usenet” in 1990 and this observation is credited as the first internet meme. For more information about Godwin’s Law, check out the original FAQ page.
Spam is a term so ubiquitous that everyone in the internet world takes it for granted, yet it is one of the first ever examples of an internet meme. The Oxford Pocket English Dictionary defines Spam as:
• (noun, trademark) a canned meat product made mainly from ham;
• (noun, internet) an irrelevant or inappropriate messages sent on the Internet to a large number of users.
• (verb: to spam, spammed, spamming) to send the same email message indiscriminately to (large numbers of users).
It originates from a Monty Python sketch in which an old lady attempts to order food at a cafe, but does not like spam (shown below). Its online usage began in the early 90s with Usenet netizens who flooded IRC chatrooms and forums with the word “spam” in reference to the repetitive and unwanted presence of Spam in the sketch. One of the earliest examples of “spamming” can be traced back to a mass e-mail sent out by a Digital Equipment Corporation employee in 1978, which announced the release of a new DEC-20 machine and invited people to the company’s receptions in California. They were chastised for breaking the ARPANET appropriate use policy, and a notice was sent out reminding others of the rule.
The Webby Awards
The Webby Awards is an annual award show first held in 1995 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, with the first “Site of the Year” award given to the episodic online story The Spot. The ceremony recognizes internet websites, applications, interactive advertising and online video. For each category, one winner is selected by popular vote and another is chosen by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. The ceremony is known for its short acceptance speeches, which limit winners to saying only five words.
The Internet Archive is a site founded in 1996 by American computer engineer and Internet activist Brewster Kahle, who also co-founded the web crawling service Alexa Internet around the same time. It is a digital library and archival site dedicated to permanent documentation of and free public access to a wide variety of digital artifacts, ranging rom websites and music to videos and nearly three million books registered under public domain.
Deep Web is a term coined in 2001, also known as “Deepnet,” the “Invisible Web,” the “Undernet” or the “hidden Web,” are parts of the Internet that are not considered part of the “surface web,” or the portion of the World Wide Web that is indexed by conventional search engines. According to The New York Times, computer scientist Mike Bergman is credited with coining the term “deep web” in a paper titled “The Deep Web: Surfacing Hidden Value” published in The Journal of Electronic Publishing in August of 2001. In the paper, Bergman mentions that Internet business author Dr. Jill Ellsworth coined the phrase “invisible Web” in 1994 when referring to websites that were not indexed by common search engines. Many deep web sites are not indexed because they use dynamic databases that are devoid of hyperlinks and can only be found by performing an internal search query.
Net Neutrality is often credited with the open access movement and political activist Lawrence Lessig as early as 2001; however, the term was first coined by Columbia law professor Tim Wu in a 2003 paper titled “Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination.” It is a network design principle and digital rights movement which advocates Internet service providers (ISPs) to treat all Internet traffic equally in order to maintain an “open Internet.” The principle is in opposition to a “closed Internet” in which providers restrict access to content, filter content or use “traffic shaping” to degrade access to specific web services.
Cyber Monday is an annual online-exclusive shopping event observed by both national and smaller online retailers on the Monday after Thanksgiving Day in the United States. Since its emergence in 2005, Cyber Monday has continuously grown into a major international marketing holiday that serves as a popular alternative to Black Friday, the annual in-store shopping event that takes place on the day after Thanksgiving Day.
Internet Theme Days
Internet Theme Days first appeared in the form of Caturday in 2005 on 4chan's random board /b/. They are weekly practices within image boards and forums in which special threads are created for the sole purpose of sharing a certain theme of images.
Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) trade agreement was proposed in 2006 through a series of multi-party negotiations among governments of nations representing Canada, the European Union, Switzerland, Australia, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea and Singapore. The agreement aimed to establish international conventions on enforcing intellectual property rights. It would establish an international legal framework for national governments to join voluntarily and create a governing body outside existing decision-making bodies such as World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) or the United Nations. In October 2011, the agreement was signed by Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and the United States. In July 2012, the European Parliament declined its consent.
Protect IP Act / Stop Online Privacy Act
The Protect IP Act was introduced in May 2011 in the United States Senate, which was designed to provide the government and copyright holders with powers to block access to “rogue websites dedicated to infringing or counterfeit goods,” especially those registered outside the United States. In October that year, a similar bill known as the Stop Online Piracy Act was introduced in the House. Following many large-scale protests backed by several high profile Internet companies, voting on the bill was postponed indefinitely by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in January 2012.
Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protect Act
The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protect Act (CISPA) was introduced in March 2012 in the United States House of Representatives, which was designed to grant the government additional powers and resources to monitor the online activities of U.S. citizens to prevent cybercrimes, namely trafficking in intellectual property and counterfeit goods. On April 18th, 2013, the bill was passed in the House but did not pass the Senate. In July 2014, a similar bill was introduced in the Senate.
Printing Out The Internet
Printing Out The Internet is a conceptual art project orchestrated by Kenneth Goldsmith, the Poet Laureate of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the curator of the literary resource site Ubu Web. The project was launched in May 2013 as a memorial to the late programmer and activist Aaron Swartz who committed suicide in January 2013. The project was on display at LABOR art gallery in Mexico City, Mexico from July 26th – August 31st, 2013 and by the end of the project, more than 10 tons of paper had been sent in from more than 20,000 contributors.
The Internet has been so well-received that around 40% of the world population has an internet connection as of May 14th, 2016. Of that percentage, 48.4% of internet users live in Asia. It is treated as a utility in the United States as of February 26th, 2015. At least 4.6 billion web pages have been added to the Internet's world wide web as of May 14th, 2016. The Internet is presumed to reach a growth-rate of 1 zettabyte (nearly twelve billion gigabytes) per year by the end of 2016 and 2 zettabytes per year by 2019.
Fandoms are social groups based around a particular interest and comprised of individuals who share that interest. The Internet itself acts as a medium for fandoms to exist on. On the internet, the term is typically used to refer to the fans of media franchises. It is often associated with fanfiction, as well as fan-made art and music.
Hacktivism refers to people, notably Anonymous, acting outside of the criminal justice system to carry out vigilante missions through the subversive use of computers or the Internet. The alternate term Internet Vigilantism is often used as a synonym though the terms have nuanced differences.
Net Art, also referred to as Internet Art, is a genre of fine art that uses networked interfaces as medium or for distribution. This can include work that is browser-based and created with code, or work that was created with other software or algorithms and is either exhibited or distributed with networked interfaces, often in combination with interactivity. While net art has no defined structure, the capabilities of commercially available computing equipment, network speed, and common software have often helped to define the art genre’s aesthetics.
Online Pornography (or porn, pr0n) refers to publications, whether in photography, cinematography, or writing, which have the act of sexual intercourse as its subject with the purpose to sexually arouse the viewer. The abundance of both professional and amateur publications as well as its easy access through online means have made pornography a subject of Internet humor and is sometimes referred to as the purpose of the Internet. Pornography is regarded as “one of the driving forces behind the expansion of the World Wide Web.”
Online Roleplay refers to the practice of altering one’s personality and behaviour in order to fit a particular role or character. When multiple such individuals act out a interaction, scene, or series of scenes, it is frequently known by the noun roleplay. Online, there are communities and parts of fandoms dedicated to roleplaying as a variety of characters. The first well-known online roleplaying community was based around the fantasy roleplaying game MUD1, which was responsible for spawning the MUD (Multi-User Dungeon) game genre. The game, created and launched in 1978, was inspired by the 1976 single player game Colossal Cave Adventure.
Internet Slang consists of a number of different ways of speaking, sub-languages, expressions, spelling techniques and idioms that have obtained most of their meaning on the Internet. These different kinds of language can be either known as chatspeak, SMS speak or IM language.
Welcome To the Internet
Welcome to the Internet Is a term used as both a genuine welcome to the Internet and a sarcastic insult used to mock those who aren't familiar with internet culture.
Rules of the Internet
First Day on the Internet Kid
First Day on the Internet Kid is an advice animal series depicting a young kid smiling at a computer with a clenched fist. The series is used to poke fun at new and inexperienced users who may be unfamiliar with internet culture.
Grandma Finds the Internet
The Internet Is Leaking
The Internet is Leaking is a term used to describe references to internet culture outside of the internet.
The Last Page of the Internet
The Last page of the Internet refers to several web pages claiming to be the final page of the Internet.
The Final boss of the Internet
The Final Boss of the Internet is a mythological character that is supposedly found at the “final level” of the Internet if it were imagined as a video game. The term is generally used to refer to any object, person or place that can be seen as very powerful or difficult to overcome.
On the Internet, Nobody Knows You're a Dog
On the Internet, Nobody Knows You're a Dog is an idiom popularized by a cartoon in The New Yorker, which has come to illustrate an understanding about the way privacy an anonymity works on the Internet.
Just Go On The Internet and Tell Lies
You Really Think Someone Would Do That? Just Go On the Internet and Tell Lies? is a rhetorical question used sarcastically to mock another internet user’s gullibility.
 Internet Archive – Digital Library of Free Books, Music, Movies and Wayback Machine