It’s World Wide Web Day, but does anyone still call it that?

Posted on August 1, 2018

 

August 1st is known as ‘World Wide Web Day’, and although the term is now rarely heard in its unabbreviated form, it’s a good time to reflect on how much the web has changed our lives since its introduction in the early 1990s.

Indeed, not only have the appearance and capabilities of the internet changed unimaginably over the last quarter of a century, the language we use to refer to it has too. Once common words like ‘dotcom’ and ‘chatroom’ now seem a bit awkward, like something a Conservative MP would say to a group of teens to appear modern and ‘down with the kids’.

World Wide Web was one of those phrases that seemed catchy in the early years of going online, along with the now even more archaic sounding ‘Information Superhighway’, but now seems clunky and uncool because we no longer need to emphasise that the web is a global entity. In the ‘90s though, when reading a URL out loud, people would insist on saying the ‘www.’ part of it. Gradually, we learned give out URLs without the www., in much the same way as we had previously learned to give out phone numbers without the area code if we were talking to people from the same place as us. Browsers like Internet Explorer and Firefox also learned to be a bit more intuitive and take us to the site we wanted even if we hadn’t included the www.

The terms ‘World Wide Web’ and ‘internet’ are not totally interchangeable, however. As discussed here, the internet is a term for a set of interconnected computer devices that exchange information. The ‘World Wide Web’ is the information space we can all access via an internet connection.

So, technically, while few people still call it the World Wide Web, we probably should do. If you’re going to a website, it’s more accurate to say that you’re going onto the World Wide Web than to say you’re going onto the internet. Your computer or mobile is probably already connected to the internet, whether you’re using it or not, so before you mock that elderly relative for using outdated language, consider whether they might be right. Perhaps it’s you who is using technical terms incorrectly?

It’s a bit of a mystery why World Wide Web Day is even celebrated on August 1st, with the date holding no obvious significance in the web’s history. Some sources say that the web was ‘born’ in August 1990, but the first example of what could be described as a ‘website’ went online on August 6th the following year. Perhaps, like with the confusion over Google’s birthday, these developments are too big to pinpoint to a single day and we should just settle upon an agreed date. Today is as good a day as any.

John Murray

Content Team Leader at Engage Web
John works for Engage Web as a Content Team Leader and regularly contributes to the website and programmes of his beloved Chester F.C.

Like us on Facebook to see more posts like this

You might also be interested in:

No Comments »

There are no comments on this yet, be the first to write a comment.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Have your say!

We have worked with:

minute-man-press-image
TEL: 0345 621 4321