Apparently – according to Stephen Covey, writing in his blog – 15th March 1985 (just over 26 years ago!) saw the first ‘dot-com’ registration on the internet.
That was before my time in this industry – but I do remember a speaker at a meeting of the Association for Computer Based Training (which eventually became the eLearning Network, or eLN) giving out her email address at an association meeting in the early 1990s. Some people’s response was along the lines of: ‘why have an email address when so few other people have one? You have no one with whom to communicate!’
How wrong they were about to be. With over 100m domain registrations at the moment – and with that number continuing to grow steadily, Covey argues that, through the internet, human beings have witnessed an explosion of communication, commerce, idea-sharing and human connectivity unlike anything else in human history.
Covey has a point. Maybe we should institute 15th March as ‘Internet Day’ and mark the day, annually, in some reverential way.
Unlike other revolutions in communication – such as the invention of the printing press or even the Renaissance in Europe – the internet-fueled explosion in communication is, all at once, egalitarian, worldwide and, in ‘learning technologies speak’, synchronous (or simultaneous). Never have news, views and ideas had such a vehicle to transport them, instantly, anywhere and everywhere to anyone and (almost) everyone.
Sadly, though, before we acclaim the internet as a latter day ‘Tower of Babel’ – which, according to the book of Genesis chapter 11, its builders (and God) thought would make humans into gods – spreading knowledge and skills universally, we need to recall that a great many people are using this amazing technology, not for high minded pursuits, but for porn and poker.