The best web developments as I remember them

I thought I’d shoot out a post about the best online discoveries I’ve ever made in my life. Mostly, to prove a point about Twitter. Also, I thought it would be fun to hear other people make/debate over their own lifetime internet top tens.

Counting down, here goes:

#10: My first email account: Around grade 7, maybe? It was pretty cool, but I don’t remember using it much at first. More of a gradual transition towards having an impact on my life, so it doesn’t rank too high on this list. You’re going to realize there’s flawed logic here when you read #1. I’m doing this based on how big a deal these developments were at the time I found them

#9 – Playing Command and Conquer over Dial-up: I think I was in grade 6 when I first started this. At first it was just with my friend Andrew, although eventually I played with about 3 or 4 other people. At the time, this was a lot of fun, but I never really continued on as a gamer (I don’t really play anything now), so that’s why it only falls at #9. I’m sure for some people, this type of development is a top-three for sure.

#8 – A few years ago, I realized that online news websites were making physical newspapers obsolete (although feel free to argue this). At first, it was actual newspapers, like globeandmail.com, or the Economist online, stuff like that. Soon I moved on to Slate.com, Huffington Post, etc. This was pretty cool, as it made my reading a lot easier, but it falls a bit short on my list because I don’t remember it substantially changing my life, just making it cheaper.

#7- MP3.com/Other sites like it (late 1990’s): I was in grade 7 or 8 when someone first showed me that bands were uploading their songs onto this website, for free. I soon started finding other, similar sites where I could download free singles. This was my first experience with free content, and I couldn’t believe I didn’t have to pay for music. Pretty big deal.

#6 – When I started using Torrents to download movies/TV shows: Kinda tied in to #7, same justification applies. Totally awesome though.

#5 – Facebook: Now we’re into the category of “really big deals/fundamental life changers”, except that I think facebook is overhyped. It’s obviously a huge deal, everyone has it, yadda yadda yadda, but I mostly use it for email. I add people I don’t remember, creep on their pictures, then never look at their profile again. I guess this has to do with the fact that I’m not a big photo guy. That said, social networking is getting more and more relevant (see: LinkedIn, which I’ll probably be using a heck of a lot more down the road). So this category might be one that grows in significance for me down the line.

#4 – Online Journals/Never going to the library in Undergrad: Okay, so loading online journals to free portals is nothing groundbreaking. But for 4 years I never, ever, once looked up a hardcopy journal. I barely used books. This rises to #4 because it freed up so much time for all the stuff that college is really about. Thank you, internet.

#3 – Twitter: I’m making a bold statement here. Here it is (although plenty of people have said this before): I think Twitter is going to be really big. When doing research at work, most of my golden finds start with Twitter feeds. Really smart or connected people updating with new links a few times a day? I’m just following their trails, stealing IP like fuckin’ train robbery. And they’re inviting me to do this. I honestly check Twitter multiple times a day, and every time I do, I find several useful things that I could write about. Follow the right people, and Twitter will make you a genious. You walk around telling everyone about stuff as soon as it happens, like you’re some sort of psychic. I can’t wait until this reaches critical mass, I think we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg.

#2 – Napster: I was in grade 9 when a friend first showed me this, and I was obviously blown away. This has to be #2, since it’s the grandaddy of so much that we take for granted. Huge props to the guy that got sued and who’s name we’ve all forgotten. By the way, the founder of Napster, Shawn Fanning – here’s what he’s up to these days. From what I can tell he’s a millionaire, but I feel like he deserves to be a more-millions-aire. Hats off to you, Shawn.

#1 ICQ – Instant messaging, how we all keep in touch. I don’t think I need to explain in detail how this made #1 – in a nutshell, I used it constantly when I first got it, and it was how I spoke to everyone in high school. Huge deal for a 13 year old. Also, I’ve been using MSN for 10 years or so (and now use AIM at work), but ICQ gets the props on this list because it was the first IM I ever had.

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