College students reminisce as World Wide Web turns 25

Photo provided by staff
Thursday, March 13, 2014 - 8:00am

Even the plugged-in generation can feel nostalgic for the early days of the World Wide Web.

"I was probably seven or eight," Sam Johnston recalled, "asking mom and dad, 'hey, can I get on the internet?'"

The World Wide Web turned 25 years old Wednesday. It revolutionized our way of life, but that can be hard to believe for college students like Johnston and Samantha Duffey, who were not yet born.

"I would say for the most part, I've always had it as a part of my life," Duffey noted.

It was known even in its infancy as the Information Superhighway, but web surfers can look back and see the difference.

"So slow," Rachel Wyatt remembered. "I don't know how I had the patience, but it's definitely gotten a lot faster."

"You had nothing to do as a kid," replied Taylor Ables.

Now, not only is internet access fast, it's ubiquitous. People can get to the Web from laptops in the park, or on their phones from seemingly remote locations.

"It's really become a daily, habitual part of my life, so I can't imagine (going without it)," Johnston said. "I can't even imagine it being any slower that it already is now, it's crazy!"

College students miss the good old days of the 28.8k modem, but for different reasons.

"Honestly, just for the experience, you know, nostalgia, that'd be cool to have at least the noise while I'm surfing on my MacBook, just the old dial-up noise," Johnston said. "I think that'd be good."

"I wish we still had dial-up," Ables said, "so people weren't so reliant on the internet."

Ables was not alone among her peers in attaching negative feelings to today's reliance on the internet.

"I think it's grown a lot of impatience in society because we're so used to immediate results," Wyatt claimed.

She and her friends Wyatt, Duffey, and Kevin Valle all agreed they could put away their smartphones and computers with no regrets. "I don't even think I really have internet in my life," Valle said, "unless it's on my phone for maps, or school."

Valle said he does not have any social media accounts and that friends give him a hard time about it.

"You feel out of the loop, but it's all right," he stated. "I've had a lot of freedom with that."

Johnston, though, cannot imagine turning off the internet. "I use the internet daily and it does more than just stuff for me," he said. "It keeps me in contact with people I need to be in contact with."  

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