For business professionals, information technology has become so ubiquitous that we take it for granted. It's hard to imagine getting through the day without using e-mail, browsing websites, making online purchases, or connecting with friends and colleagues via social media. Yet just 20 years ago, office technology was very, very different.
E-mail existed in 1991, but very few people outside of universities used it. Before e-mail attachments, fax machines were the way to go when you needed to send a document to someone outside your office quickly. If you needed to buy a plane ticket for a business trip, you looked under "Airlines" in a thick printed directory called the Yellow Pages--and picked up the phone to call the airline to book a flight.
I'm sure none of us realized on August 6, 1991 that a monumental event had just taken place--the first page on the World Wide Web had been created. As you can see in this Time Magazine article, the first page consisted only of text and hyperlinks--no photos, no ads, no buttons to tweet or "like" the page. You'll also notice that the World Wide Web was abbreviated "W3" instead of the "WWW" we have become accustomed to today.
Within 5 years of the launch of the Web, the first popular browser (Netscape Navigator) had been loaded onto almost everyone's home and work computer, and within 10 years the first internet bubble had risen to its heady heights and then crashed spectacularly. There's no doubt that the Web is here to stay...but it will be interesting to see where the next 20 years take us. Happy birthday, W3!