Social Impact

The Internet has revolutionized the way we communicate in society. It has opened up another channel of communication. All conventional forms of communication including telephone, radio, television and mail have all had to adapt to include the internet in the communication medium. However, the difference between the other mediums is quite unique, the Internet provides everyone the ability to express their own opinion, whether biased, truthful or corrupting to a global audience. While it has brought many positive aspects to society for example 'email', it has raised many ethical, sociological and moral questions.

There were an estimated 604,111,719 internet users by the year 2002 est.

Overview

Historically, internet began with Paul Baran's study, which proposed the idea of a packet switched network. This idea was then implemented in 1969 between four universities in the United States. These networks evolved and expanded from United States to throughout the world, and these inter-connected networks all using the same TCP/IP protocol are considered to be what the Internet is.

Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn have been credited in their paper on Transmission Control Protocol in 1974 for the first use of the word 'internet'.


Internet and World Wide Web

The Internet is essentially an infrastructure that allow computers to link together through a sets of computer networks. Using this existing infrastructure, Tim Berners-Lee wrote the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). Hypertext documents allow documents to be linked to other documents so using this protocol created by Berners-Lee allowed to give documents addresses on the internet.

Berners-Lee then expanded on this and created the first browser, which he called the "World Wide Web". He also set up the first web server which consequently created the first address "info.cern.ch", which is where he worked.

Content on the web is broken down into 'sites' and 'pages' - consider the analogy of the Internet as a very large, electric library - with hundreds of books on even a single topic. Each 'book' would be a site, and each site will be built of many pages. Open-Site, is a site for example, and this is one example of a page. Pages are written in a special language called HTML, which allows programmers and designers to include different writing styles and images and the ability to link pages together into their pages. As such, it can be difficult to navigate through a page, just trying to read HTML, so a group of programs sprang up to allow you to browse a page, as the designer intended - these are called Web Browsers, analogous to the idea of all machines being interlinked, somewhat like a web.