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World Wide Web Turns 20, Mega LOLz Ensue

Posted on the 08 August 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost
World Wide Web turns 20, mega LOLz ensue

LOLCat. Photo credit: michellelevine,

Happy birthday, World Wide Web! Twenty years ago physicist Tim Berners-Lee unveiled the world’s first website. Surprisingly, it wasn’t LOLCats: the website was actually about the World Wide Web Project. Of course, as Matt Blum pointed out at Wired, at the time nobody apart from Berners-Lee and his team had a web browser. But all that has changed, and now the World Wide Web (WWW) is an integral part of daily life for many people around the globe. There are currently 19.68 billion web pages, according to The Daily Mail. Some of these are may prove crucial to the furthering of human knowledge, fundamental to the development of our species; but lots of them are porn. It’s important to note that the internet and the World Wide Web are two different things. We could explain this difference, but we’re impatient to get to the cats.

  • LOLCats. What account of the influence of the World Wide Web would be complete without a cat wearing a tie? There are countless websites offering pictures of cats in a whole host of humorous poses; in the main, the cats just look a bit angry. “LOL” is online slang for “laughing out loud” and is used to denote humour; it is also desperately annoying.
  • Social networking. Thanks to Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and pals, you can share your feelings, social plans and amusing pictures of cats with the world. But is it all a sinister conspiracy? Social networking has come in for considerable criticism, apparently causing low educational achievement, aiding stalkers and provoking riots. However, time moves on: according to The Guardian, social networking sites are mainly for middle-aged losers; all the clued-up teens are on BlackBerry Messenger.
  • Communicating with celebrities. Speaking of social networking, perhaps the greatest advantage is that we can now learn all about the inner lives of our favourite celebrities. No longer are we dependent on PR-controlled interviews; the World Wide Web brings us the truth! At the time of writing, Katy Perry needs a foot rub, Rihanna adores Barbados and Victoria Beckham loves her new baby.
  • Internet celebrity. Then again, traditional celebs are old-hat; the real stars of today are online, from warbling prepubescents and people who mime to rap in their bedrooms to someone who just wants us to leave Britney Spears alone. Hey, if it was good enough for Bieber…

  • Shopping. You can buy just about anything online – and we mean anything. Need someone to wait in line for the Harry Potter film? A picture of Jesus? Or just a friend? Head to eBay.
  • Important tools. So you’re having a terrible day; all you want is to express your inner pain. In the olden days, you’d have had to resort to beating your head against a wall; now, thanks to the World Wide Web, you can have Darth Vader wail your despair instead. And it doesn’t end there:  you can find out when you’re going to die (and then presumably go back to the Darth Vader wail website), generate your own Daily Mail headlines and look at cool people who seem sad. What on earth did we do with our time before the WWW came along?
  • Thar be pirates! Paying for stuff sucks. Luckily, there are plenty of websites that will allow you to download films, music and books for free. Of course, you run the risk of a massive fine and/or imprisonment; but what’s £1.2 million for a bit of free music?

  • Video chart. Ah, YouTube: provider of dogs pretending to be dead, purveyor of laughing babies, mocker of Rebekah Brooks. All indispensible; apart from Nyan Cat; that we could do without.

  • Viral marketing. Over the few years, advertisers have stormed the World Wide Web. While this isn’t always seen as a good thing – endless marketing emails and stealth campaigns, for example – it has led to some memorable adverts: Old Spice personalised their campaign by having their actor – “the man your man could smell like” – answer questions in character through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

  • Porn. Research from 2010 shows 12 percent of websites were pornographic: according to Online MBA, 28,258 internet users were viewing porn every second, while 35 percent of all downloads were porn-related. That’s a whole lot of porn. Apparently, the top search term for porn was not “porn” but “sex”, closely followed by “adult dating”. So that’s what the kids are calling it nowadays.

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