Announcing The Webbys 25 for 25

David-Michel Davies, Executive Director

I remember the first time I saw the World Wide Web like it was ten minutes ago. Two pages into, I knew instantly that the world was different, and not because I was so prescient or insightful as a 19-year-old in college in 1993, but because the Web was so radical it felt instantly futuristic – like we had gone from the Stone Age to the Jetsons in that one instant.

It is one of my fondest memories, perhaps because I am so grateful that I was that age when it happened. Old enough to have lived the beginnings of an adult life without it, but young and open enough to jump right in the second I saw it. I remember thinking how grand and weird the name was – World Wide Web. It sounded so big and amazing, and also kinda funny. My memories are filled with more of those grand words: The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), Mosaic, and, of course, The University of Illinois at Urbana Champagne. It was all very exotic to a 19-year-old who grew up in Sacramento.

But today the Web is anything but exotic. In the developed world, it is almost as commonplace as water, or gasoline, or electricity. Aside from sleep, there are probably only a few total hours in the day when we aren’t interacting with the Web in some way. And while yes, sometimes the interaction can be mired by splogs, bots, or an anonymous commenter, it is, by and large, enriching almost everything we do. The clichés – that it brings us closer to friends, enlivens our careers, makes us laugh more (when did we ever laugh so much at work?), and makes it easier to talk to Mom (the list is literally infinite) – are almost all universally true.

But as commonplace as this wonderful invention has become, the long-term viability of the Web We Want is anything but guaranteed.

Today, in conjunction with the World Wide Web Foundation and the W3C, and over 15 different artists, filmmakers, writers, and Web page creators, we are launching the Webbys 25 for 25, a collection of essays, art projects, films, and Web mementos to celebrate Tim Berners-Lee’s beautiful invention as well as the billions of people who have contributed in some way to making it what it is today. Every day until May 20th, a new essay, film, website, or relic from the Web’s vast history will launch in this space. We like to think of them as little birthday presents for the Web, ones that exist only because of the Web. We hope they’ll be fun and delightful, but also at times reminders that it is our collective responsibility to support and protect TBL’s vision: “Free, Open, Keep One Web.”

See the full list of 25 for 25 projects.