When we told you who invented the internet

Before you start commenting, I know he didn’t invent the internet.

Looking for content for this week’s Throwback Thursday, I unearthed this editorial from 2012. The Olympics had just started. Alongside all the other famous Brits in the opening ceremonies was an unassuming man behind a truly ancient computer.

That man was Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who most certainly did not invent the internet. However, he did invent the organizational and display protocols we refer to as “The World Wide Web.” He invented web pages and the protocols used to display them. Without him you couldn’t click on anything, and you couldn’t read this blog.

Some say the internet is the most important invention all time after the wheel and fire. If that’s true then Sir Tim is one of the most important people of all time.. Yet, when relatively unimportant person Meredith Vieira saw him, she couldn’t identify him. Neither could any of the other commentators.

To put it mildly, I went off the rails.

But, that was six years ago and you’d think I’d probably be over it by now. You’d think wrong. Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a world where incredibly influential scientists are easily recognized and members of OJ Simpson’s lawyer’s family aren’t? (You actually get 10 points if you know to whom I refer, and you lose 10 points if you recognize any of them by name. So there.)

Think about it for a second, you are actually reading this blog, and you are probably online for hours and hours every day, and all of that started because of one person. One person, and would you recognize him walking down the street? You have one person to thank for online shopping and streaming video and Wikipedia — well actually other people did create those things but they couldn’t have done it without that one person — and most people don’t know who he is.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.