Sometime during July 1995 was the first time I used the World Wide Web.
I was 15, and had just finished my freshman year of high school. I was at Stanford for (cough) debate institute (cough.) (I ended up quitting debate within weeks of the following school year.)
I remember using an early version of Netscape Navigor (probaby 1.1) on some PC’s in the basement of Green Library.
It’s hard to say just how large an effect it had on me, but I think it was substantial. I remember coming back and telling my parents that it was “the future of information distribution” or something to that effect, and that I thought it would be best to cancel Compuserve and just get a dialup ISP that would let us use the web, since that was clearly where everything was going.
And while I think I may have seen the possibilities of information and publishing that were expanding, and started to surf the Web every day, I don’t think I had any real inkling of how much the Web (and Internet in general) would be a communications tool and way to bring people together. I certainly didn’t have any idea how much it would effect and permeate my life personally.
It seems weird to think I’m probably the only generation that will see the Web that way - from a curiosity to pervasive element.
It is weirder that I have a story like this… I imagine most people have more interesting stories of what they were doing 10 years ago that changed their life than “using Netscape.”
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