What started out as a simple set of hyperlinks became a revolutionary invention that forever changed the world. It‘s called the World Wide Web and on 6 August, 2012 it‘s coming of age and turning 21.
This is a significant date not only for the web but for local start-up, moneysmart, too. Like the web, it is making its debut as a publicly available service on 6 August. But instead of celebrating its own launch, moneysmart is inviting South Africans to pay tribute to the Great Web and its founder Sir Tim Berners-Lee because without his invention, little of what we take for granted today would be possible. Tobie Van Zyl, moneysmart CEO says, “œAs a local tech start-up, sharing our birth date with something as world famous as the web is significant not least because we have a few things in common other than the date: we are both techies; both developed our product to make life easier; both built it for everyone in mind, and both are free to use. So we think it‘s only fitting for us to pay tribute to our web roots as it celebrates its 21st birthday on our launch-day and we encourage South Africans to do the same.“
To get involved, South Africans can post a birthday tribute to the web and Sir Tim on Facebook or via Twitter #web21. The best messages will be used as part of a personalised video birthday card that features tributes from some of SA‘s great techies; Matthew Buckland, Arthur Goldstuck, Alan Knot-Craig Jnr, Adriaan Pienaar, Eric Edelstein, Eran Eyal and Tobie Van Zyl. The card will be sent to Sir Tim at 16h00 on 6 August via Twitter, with love from SA and moneysmart. (Sir Tim is in the USA so he is six hours behind South Africa. This means he‘ll receive his gift as he has his breakfast).
“œEveryone has a personal anecdote to share about the web. Like when they met their soul mate online; fulfilled a life-long goal of getting a BCom Degree at 83 years old via e-learning or created a web-based personal finance resource like moneysmart – the possibilities are really just endless, says Van Zyl.
The web‘s story began in 1989 at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva when Sir Tim posted a prophetic summary of the project on the alt.hypertext newsgroup, saying “œThe WWW project aims to allow all links to be made to any information anywhere.“
When it went live on 6 August, 1991 he said, “œWe are very interested in spreading the web to other areas and having gateway servers for other data. Collaborators welcome.“
And collaborate they did. According to Internetworldstats.com, today there are more than 2.3-billion Internet users around the world. Locally, there are 8.5 million users. There are 6.48-million South Africans on Facebook, 2.1-million on Twitter, 5-million smartphones were sold last year and 3.06-million use the BlackBerry Messenger service.
“œWe live in the knowledge economy and the penetration of the web in South Africa is growing at lightning speed. The web has allowed people to empower themselves via access to information. As a tech start-up whose core aim is to help people manage their money better online, via mobile and tablets, we hope this is just the beginning. So from one web start-up to another, we wish Sir Tim and the World Wide Web a very happy 21st birthday and wish it many many more to come.“
To post a tribute on Facebook go to www.facebook.com/moneysmartsa or join the birthday celebrations via Twitter @MONEYchirps #web21.
As part of the celebration, Moneysmart‘s Lilian van Zyl created this infographic about the evolution of the World Wide Web as well as some interesting facts and figures about its use in South Africa.
View the infographic below: