Top 10 Internet Moments of the Decade Announced

webNew York’s International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences – bestowers of the annual Webby Awards – named the 10 most influential Internet moments of the last ten years. (In Web time, that’s 70 years to you and me.)

On a side note, this just alerted me to the fact that we’re officially at that inane time of the year when we’re deluged with not only “Best of the Year” lists, but I now realize we’re in for a tempest of “Decade’s Best/Worst” and “Who Died This Decade” litanies.  Let the games begin.

The Webby Awards list of the 10 most influential Internet moments of the decade:

  • Craigslist online classified site expands outside San Francisco (2000)
  • The launch of Google AdWords (2000)
  • The launch of online encyclopedia Wikipedia (2001)
  • The shutdown of file-sharing site Napster (2001)
  • Google’s initial public offering (2004)
  • The online video revolution led by YouTube (2006)
  • Facebook opens to non-college students and Twitter launches (2006)
  • Apple’s iPhone debuts (2007)
  • The use of the Internet in the US presidential campaign (2008)
  • The use of Twitter during the Iranian election protests (2009)

So like any list anywhere for ANYTHING, there have to be second guesses and outrage. It’s the human thing to do, right?. What do I think is missing?

  • I would argue that the launch of iTunes is a more significant Internet event than the launch of iPhone. It’s a matter of semantics, but iTunes is a web site, not a mobile device. Its influence on the music industry has been positively profound.
  • Thought it was wrong that MySpace didn’t get any play on this list. It launched in 2003 so it met the timing criteria. And it was the quintessential social network before Facebook came to town. While it’s very chic to bash MySpace these days and predict its imminent demise, it’s impossible to deny its important role as progenitor of today’s social networks.
  • Flickr? Hosts 4 billion images? Launched in 2004? Ehh…heard of them? I’d swap out Craigslist on the list for Flickr.
  • Launch of Binary Pulse blog “Ones and Zeros.” A formative event in the world of technology marketing.

So what could we look back on ten years from now and cite as the most influential Internet moments? I’ll venture a few guesses:

  • Online voting in state and national elections.
  • Launch of Internet 2 (or whatever the next Internet infrastructure ends up being called)
  • Total convergence of all Web and broadcast data into a single integrated feed. (Probably pushed to our uber-mobile devices and wall-sized touch displays.)
  • Wearable computing lets you literally see the Internet everywhere you go. (I know, I said iPhone shouldn’t qualify because it’s a device not a site. But in 10 years, I’ll forget my own objections.)
  • Personalized Web agents that search and retrieve information perpetually for you…unattended. Thinking bots that can much more efficiently plumb the unbelievable depths of content we will have generated in 10 years. We simply won’t be able to keep up and will need to create AI agents smarter than us.

I could star gaze even longer on what the future might hold, but that’s the mission of another post. In the meantime, what do YOU think was important about the last ten Web years and what the next ten hold in store?


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