Our 19 Favourite Internet Firsts

It’s all about ‘First Man’ starring ladies’ favourite Ryan Gosling (swoon!) right now. The movie, which is already generating serious Oscar buzz, tells the riveting tale of NASA’s mission to land the first man on the moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong (played by Gosling…and again, swoon!) and the years 1961-1969.

In the spirit of this huge movie release, we decided to launch our own lunar mission, jettisoning our unsuspecting office dog in to outer space just this morning. We didn’t really do that. But we did decide to bring you this trivia-tastic blog listing all the big firsts in eCommerce and the world of digital.

3, 2, 1, lift-off!

1)  The First Email Ever Sent:

This was from Ray Tomlinson (the inventor of email) to himself in 1971. Says Tomlinson of this momentous communication and defining moment in modern civilization: “The test messages were entirely forgettable…most likely the first message was QWERTYIOP.” Oh. OK.

2) The First Domain Name Registered:

Symbolics.com on March 15th, 1985. Back then, it belonged to a computer manufacturing company, but now serves as museum of the internet, on the internet, which is very apt.

3) The First Web Browser:

That would be World Wide Web, and was developed by British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee in 1990. Here in ChannelSight, we love a good TBL quote. For example: “You affect the world by what you browse.” If you too fancy going down a wondrous rabbit hole of TBL quotes, pop over to Brainy Quote.

4) The First Website:

This was dedicated to information on the World Wide Web, went live on August 6th 1991, at http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html, and was made by the aforementioned Tim Berners-Lee.

5) The First Instant Message:

This was sent by Ted Leonsis, former AOL senior executive, to his wife Lynn on January 6th 1993. It read: “Don’t be scared…it is me. Love you and miss you.” To which she replied: “Wow…this is so cool!” This was a time before emoji. If you can imagine that!

6) The First eCommerce Transaction:

Pizza Hut often gets the credit here. But in fact, it goes to a young American entrepreneur by the name of Dan Kohn. He ran a website called NetMarket, and on August 11th, 1994, he sold a CD of Sting’s Ten Summoner’s Tales album for US$12.48 to a friend in Philadelphia, in what was the first ever transaction protected by encryption technology.

7) Jeff Bezos’ First Job:

A summer flippin’ burgers in Mickey D’s for US$2.69 an hour back in the 80s. Fun fact: His first week on the job involved a ketchup disaster. But Jeff dug deep and got through it. And is now worth an estimated US$162 billion for his troubles.

8) Amazon’s First Known Job Listing:

This was posted to Usenet (a pre-web message board) on the 22nd of August 1994 before most folks even had computers, never mind the interweb. And the rest, as they say, is history.

9) The First Product Sold On Amazon:

A copy of Hofstadter’s Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies, bought by a software engineer called John Wainwright for the princely sum of US$27.95 on April 3rd 1995. For those interested, it’s still available on Amazon. Covering artificial intelligence and human condition modeling, and with a first chapter entitled ‘To Seek Whence Cometh a Sequence’, it’s ideal for a bit of light, bedtime reading.

10) The First Online Banner Ad:

On the 27th of October, 1994, HotWired.com ran this AT&T ad, which brought users to a simple landing page that offered more information about AT&T. Advertising has not quite been the same since.

11) The First Sentence Spoken On Skype:

“Tere, kas sa kuuled mind?”, which was uttered in April 2003 by a member of the development team. It’s Estonian for: “Hi mum, what’s for dinner?” No it’s not. It’s Estonian for “Hello, can you hear me?”

12) The First Blogger:

That would be Justin Hall, who has been sharing explicit details of his personal life on links.net, AKA ‘Links from the Underground’, since 1994. And the world is a far richer place for it. Thank you Justin.

13) The First Internet Sensation:

Beanie Babies’ 1995 internet takeover. At the height of the craze, they accounted for a massive 10% of all sales on eBay, making their creator Ty Warner a billionaire. Bear in mind that Beanie Babies are just toy animals filled with plastic pellets. Why didn’t we think of that?!

14) The First Emoji:

These were created in 1999 by Japanese artist Shigetaka Kurita, who was on the development team for ‘i-mode’, an early mobile internet platform from Japan’s main mobile carrier, DOCOMO. The original set includes icons for the weather, traffic, technology and time. The 12×12 pixel works of art were released for cell phones in 1999, and we can’t imagine life without them.

15) The First Selfie:

This delightful photo of a split lip, which was posted to an ABC online forum on September 13th 2002 by Australian Nathan Hope. He was seeking advice about whether licking his lips would make his stitches dissolve too soon, writing: “Um, drunk at a mates 21st, I tripped ofer [sic] and landed lip first (with front teeth coming a very close second) on a set of steps…sorry about the focus, it was a selfie.” Little did Mr. Hope know the monster he was creating.

16) The First Facebook Profile:

Some guy called Mark Zuckerberg back in 2004. Not sure if you’ve heard of him? Apparently he has done a few things since then.

17) The First Video Uploaded To YouTube:

‘Me at the zoo’ was uploaded on the 23rd of April, 2005, by YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim. It’s 18 seconds long, has been viewed over 55 million times, and delivers this profound and deeply affecting message about elephants: “The cool thing about these guys is that they have really, really, really long, eh, trunks.” God bless the internet!

18) The First Tweet:

That would be the earth-shattering line: “just setting up my twttr”, from Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey on March 21st 2006. #concise

19) The First Instagram Post:

This photo of a puppy and a foot. It was taken by Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom at a taco stand in Mexico, and uploaded to Instagram in July 2010. And humanity is forever grateful, for without this, we would not have the dogs of Instagram phenomenon. In particular, we would not have Marnie the Dog, who has over two million followers. What a time to be alive!

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