ARPANET to Instagram: A History of the Internet

  • In '57, the Sneaky Soviets Send Sputnik Sailing into Space

    In '57, the Sneaky Soviets Send Sputnik Sailing into Space
    At a pivotal moment in the Cold War and the Space Race, the USSR sends Sputnik 1, earth's first artificial satellite, into orbit. Dang commies, man.
  • ARPA

    In response to the launch of Sputnik, the United States Department of Defense creates the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) in an attempt to assert America as the leading inovator in military science and technology.
  • The First Packets

    In 1961, the first packet-switching papers were conceived. Packets break up information sent in digital networks to make sending information easier.

    A descendant of ARPA, the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), with its planning starting in 1966, sent its first packet. ARPANET was one of the first operational programs to send a packet and was an "ancestor" to the Internet. The Internet is an extremely massive network that connects computers globally and allows them to communicate so long as they are connected to the Internet.
  • Email

    Electronic mail (email) was created by Massachusetts computer scientist Ray Tomlinson. He used @ to distinguish the name of the sender and the network. He sent the world's first email to himself, and set it was probably something like "QWERTYUIOP".
  • TCP/IP

    The Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) is designed. In 1983 it becomes the standard for communication over the Internet. One of the protocols allows users to log onto remote computers and list and download files onto it.
  • The Internet is Coined

    The term "Internet" is used for the first time. They can't put anything on the Internet that isn't true!
  • Domain Names

    Domain Names
    The Domain Name System (DNS) is created. It gives us network address extnsions like .com, .org, and .edu. The next year, 1985, Quantum Computer Services (which later changes its name to America Online, or AOL) is launched.
  • Them Pesky Viruses

    A virus called the Internet Worm (or Morris worm) is released. It is one of the first viruses released over the Internet and affects nearly 10% of the 60,000 users (or 6,000 users).
  • The World

    The World
    The World is launched. It was the first dial-up service provider that allowed the general public to access the Internet, which had previously been used mostly by universities and militaries. In 2012, it only had about 1800 active users.

    ARPANET ceases to exist after its 20th anniversary the previous year.
  • The Web

    British engineer Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web after writing a proposal on the subject a year earlier. The World Wide Web is a system of interlinked documents that allows us to view web pages. In 1993, the Web counted for only 1% of all Internet traffic.
  • Gopher

    A protocol called Gopher is developed at the University of Minnesota (it is named after the shcool's mascot). It allowed the easy sharing and indexing of documents over the Internet. It is later replaced by the HTTP protocol that is used today.
  • Mosaic

    Web browser NCSA Mosaic was released. It is regarded as popularizing the World Wide Web and its design influnced modern browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari. It was discontinued a short time later in 1997.
  • Spam

    In this year, companies started lauching mass advertisement campaigns via email and is the first "spam". The 1990s also saw numerous computer viruses and Internet scams being released, including the infamous Nigerian prince email scam.
  • CompuServe and Catholicism

    CompuServe and Catholicism
    Popular (well, popular at the time) service providers CompuServe, America Online (AOL), and Prodgiy start providing dial-up Internet access. In the same year, the Holy See lauches its own website, In 1996, approximately 45 million people use the Internet and about 44% of US households own a personal computer.
  • Education Connection!

    Around this year, the first online college degree was earned. Although uncommon at first, they later improved and gained popularity in the 2000s. Online schools like the University of Phoenix offer those who can't attend traditional universities opportunities to get their degree.

    Going online in 1998, Internet travel agency Priceline was founded. It was one of the first major online travel agencies, offering competitive prices and later competing with sties such as Hotwire, Orbitz, Expedia, and Travelocity.
  • Pathfinder Pictures

    Pathfinder Pictures
    On this day, NASA published images taken by the rover Pathfinder on Mars. Internet traffic records were broken, and the broadcast got 46 million hits in one day.
  • Google It

    Google It
    Google was founded on this day with its first office opening in Menlo Park, California. Today, Google is the world's most popular search engine and enjoys more than 3 billion searches every day.
  • Napster

    Napster, a music-sharing website, was launched. It eventually ran into copyright infringment lawsuits, and a bankruptcy judge ruled its CEO was forced to resign and lay off his entire staff in 2002.
  • iTunes

    Apple, computer manufacturers famous for MacIntoshes and later iPhones and iPods, released iTunes. The online music player and store is one of the world's most popular media programs.
  • Wikipedia

    Wikipedia was founded, today the world's 6th most visited website. It is a self-proclaimed "free encyclopedia that anyone can edit".
  • Hipster Facebook

    Hipster Facebook
    MySpace, a music-centered social networking site, was launched. It was the first major, popular social network, but its use has rapidly declined since the rise of Facebook. It has about 1 million users in the US, compared to Facebook's 1 billion-plus worldwide. It was recently purchased by Justin Timberlake, so fedoras are required in all profile pictures.

    In 2003, nealr half of all emails were spam, and it clogged servers. President Bush signed into law the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act of 2003 to try to curtall spam. See how angry hee is?
  • The Social Network

    The Social Network
    Facebook, today the world's largest social media site, is launched by a group of college students at Harvard University. Socail media has made it easier for many people in today's era to communicate and connect. This was one of the greatest days in human history or one of its greatest tragedies, depending on who you ask.
  • YouTube

    Video-sharing site YouTube is launched in 2005, one of today's most frequently visited websites. Whether it be adorable cat videos for soccer moms or horribly inappropriate cartoons scarring the minds of young children, YouTube has undoubtedly changed all of our lives.
  • Twitter

    In 2006, social media site Twitter went online. It allows users to post messages less than 140 characters and today has more than 200 million members. It tags certain terms with hashtags (#), known as the number sign or pound sign to those of us in the real world, and is yet another web application we have to explain to our mothers.
  • Instagram

    Video and photo-sharing mobile app Instagram is released. It allows users to post, well, photos and videos, comment on them, and edit them. It rapidly gained popularity in 2013 and contributed to why it was named "the Year of the Selfie".
  • Arab Spring

    Arab Spring
    Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter play a large role in the Arab Spring, a series of uprisings and revolutions in Middle Eastern countries that toppled many totalitarian regimes.
  • #YearOfTheSelfie

    Deemed the Year of the Selife, literally everything in 2013 was AMAZING. In 2013, Facebook use started to decline and the use of other services like Twitter and Instagram increased. Good for stockbrokers, horrible for anyone who thinks a celebrity taking a duck-lips selfie is worthy of the NBC Nightly News.
  • "Obamacare"

    The controversial Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, was signed into law by President Obama in an attempt to provide health insurance for all in 2010. In October 2013, its website,, was released to a plague of tech problems and millions of people were delayed in their signing up for health care. It was later fixed, and more than 8 million people had signed up by April 2014.