Internet Age Began on August 9, 1995

Did the “Internet Age” really start 20 years ago today on August 9, 1995? Literary Kicks’s Levi Asher makes just that claim.

His reasoning? This is the 20th anniversary of the Netscape IPO, as well as the death of Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia. News about Garcia’s passing went viral on Usenet, The WELL and elsewhere.

So what do you think of the validity of Asher’s analysis. He concedes that "I’m not talking about the Internet itself, which was born in the late 1960s when two computers on two different university networks first exchanged messages, thus establishing a network between networks, an ‘inter-net’. I’m talking about the craze, the delirium, the stock market booms and crashes, the ‘everything is changing’ meme that turned out to be true."

Of course, others might argue that the real start of the Net as a cultural phenomenon began in September 1993 when AOL added Usenet access or in 1994 when Prodigy began offering full Web access and Web page hosting. As early as 1989, CompuServe was letting subscribers exchange e-mail with Internet addresses.

And there are probably other dates people could zero on as well. Your thoughts? For all I know, Asher could be right.


  1. I’m far from expert on the topic, but it kind of “feels” right. That seems to be the time when the Internet (and the Web specifically) went from being a fascinating curiosity, the meaning of which still seemed a tad vague, to becoming something that actually felt like it was soon to become a force of substantial cultural change. When it went from feeling like something that one might dabble in to something that one would regularly use, perhaps even out of necessity.

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