The way in which we share information has completely changed. You can thank the internet for that. It seems like just a few short years ago where most information was shared through the television, or books. Nowadays? Just head online. You will have the world’s knowledge at your fingertips. Here, we want to take a little look at the evolution of information sharing, as well as a couple of ideas on the way technology can go.
Let’s start from the early pre-internet days, although we are still going to be talking about recent technology. We are positive that you already know that a hundred or so years ago, people were not sharing information via fax or the telephone. Well, the latter certainly not to the extent that we do today. In the past, it was tough to share information. You really had three options available to you. That is if you wanted to share information quickly:
While these are all effective methods for sharing information, they do have their downsides. Perhaps the biggest being that they are slow. A lot of the time, information can get lost in translation too. If you worked in the pre-internet age, then you will probably know that if you talked to somebody in person, it is possible not all information that was required was shared. In some cases, some of the information was inaccurate. This would cause problems.
Of course, you could also send letters to somebody. Although, this tends to be a very slow method. It certainly isn’t ideal if you want to ensure that the recipient receives the information within a couple of days. You also ran the risk of items getting lost in the mail. This is still a common problem to this day. This is why many companies now digitize most of their documents, but we will talk more about that in a short while.
As we ventured into the early internet age, we started to have more and more options available when it came to sharing information. Of course, the early internet age still had email. This meant that we would now send information quickly to a person. No fax machine required. Most people still didn’t have an internet connection. Most people didn’t have access to a computer. This meant that fax during the early days of the internet was still the primary method for sharing text documents, but email always existed for some of the larger businesses out there.
We also had Usenet discussion boards. In fact, those discussion boards still exist today. While they are not as active as they were a couple of decades ago, a surprising amount of information was shared on them. Although, they were not going to be secure enough for sharing important business documents. In the early 1990s, the HTTP protocol was invented (this is what most of us know as the internet!). This meant that companies could start to put together rather basic websites to share information with their clients. Of course, these websites were the most basic sites imaginable. This meant that you couldn’t really use them to share information that you didn’t want in the public eye.
Luckily, the invention of HTTP started to give rise to the modern internet era. We would say that this starts somewhere around the early 2000s. This is when more people started to gain access to:
This meant that more people were connected to the internet than ever before in history, and the number is only rising each day. This means that we now have more ways than ever to share information with people.
The early modern internet age started to give rise to websites that could actually be secured. This means that information you didn’t want in the public eye could be put behind a password system. This was great for businesses, as it made it easier to share private information with their customers. Perhaps the ‘best’ example of this would be banks, but plenty of companies now share invoices and customer information like this.
The modern age also made it easier for employees to share information within their companies. Again, most of the information could be kept out of the public eye. The internet even started to result in file sharing systems. This meant that not only could text be shared between people, but we can now share complete files and other documents. In fact, just about any digital file can be shared through these file services. This includes video and the like.
At the same time, we started to see more and more websites spring up that shared masses of information. Take Wikipedia, for example. This, as you may know, is a huge online encyclopaedia. Wikipedia is actually so big that many companies have stopped producing encyclopaedias in book form, with pretty much everything being taken ‘online’. This is probably the biggest sign that the way in which we share information online has completely changed the world.
The increase in the speed of internet connections has even changed the way in which we consume information. In the past, we would only really be able to share text documents, and maybe a couple of images here and there. Great for some information, but not for all. Now, we can share information in a video format too. In fact, YouTube is one of the most popular sites in the world. All sorts of information is shared there, including educational videos. YouTube is actually so popular that many children are now consuming most of their programming on that platform instead of the traditional TV.
Even information from prior to the modern internet age is shared more easily now. Take historical documents, for instance. This especially includes newspapers. Many of them have been digitized and can be browsed online for a small fee. This is something that nobody would have been able to envision happening just a few decades ago.