I got one of my numerous emails today. The article said that the Internet was 25 years old this month.
We have all seen the stats. There are trazillions of emails sent every day, a billion people on Facebook, billions of searches daily. I have a PowerPoint of my own stats. It’s on Slideshare. You get the plot.
I have seen great change many times. I have always worked in the ad game which often pulls the rug out from underneath your feet. Marketing is all about changing behavior.
When I was a puppy growing up largely in a rural Canada there was plenty of change. I remember that many places in Cottage Country North of Toronto didn’t have electricity or telephone service.
A conversation at Timmy Horton’s often said we got Hydro up at the cottage now. A true mark of progress. That’s pretty good there eh. Can you get the hockey game on TV up there? Only with good rabbit ears or some with the right twist of aluminum foil.
When I moved from Toronto to join JWT Chicago not that long after, Canada had 80% cable penetration. In the States they were still trying to get their handle on cable which was old hat to me eh. JWT Chicago was founded in 1891 and was an icon of the ad business. Too bad it closed a couple of years ago in the New Normal.
I still prefer a cottage, largely immersed in silence with just the light of the moon and the stars and bouncing reflections on the lake. They are hard to find and worth a lot.
Soon after the Internet was launched there was a Recession that started in 1992. Nothing like the Great Recession that we all went through yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Then things started to get interesting. It was a time when everyone knew everything and nothing so they were automatically an expert on the Internet if they had a voice.
I scrambled to participate as rapidly as I could because I also like bright shiny objects and didn’t want to get left behind. I grew up in libraries and the internet was like the biggest one I had ever seen without a Dewey decimal system. Disorganized organization in a new future hyped all around. True information bliss. There were no over dues and you didn’t need a library card.
Then Wall Street got involved and the circus got started. The carnies entered the fray. Step right up and see the marvels of today Ladies and Gentlemen. But don’t delay or you will miss out. Domains that hadn’t made a penny were soon worth more than General Motors. Defied logic but only for a flash.
We called the time the .dotcom boom. You could fog a mirror on your interview and you deserved $80K a year. You had graduated two years ago but that doesn’t matter because it is the .com era. Get on the bus of irrational progress.
We all know the rest about the Dot-Com Bus.
Things continued to move along the highway of hype. The economy started to get better built on the foundation of the mortgage bubble. Then that balloon popped and another weasel came out of the box. We were all frightened.
The explosion of social media followed. More experts sitting on panels saying that social media was the future forever and everything else was old news. The Pied Pipers played turning Lemmings into Lynchpins or was it the other way around?
So Happy Birthday Mr. and Mrs. or Ms. Internet. I am glad you came along. I still find the journey fascinating just like our first date.
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