Appreciating the Internet

Do you take the internet for granted?

As I began to ponder what new side of technology I would delve into for this next blog it hit me. Why look into the new workings of the internet when I don’t even know how the internet itself, works. As a kid of the nineties I was raised into a world where the internet was always just there. I wasn’t old enough at the time of its inception to understand how it all began. The internet is something that we all use on a daily basis and most of us probably don’t even know a thing about the workings behind it. It is one of the technological inventions of today that we take for granted without any thought behind whom and what makes it work. Sure, we all know how to use it, were all geniuses at that but to be asked how it “works” and not how to “use” it is the underlying idea. As this knowledge hit me the number of questions that popped into my head astounded me and had me wondering why I never thought of this before.

There were two big questions that I sought to answer:

  1.  How does it physically work in its simplest way? 
  2.  Where did the idea for the internet come from? Who took that idea and invented it?  

Trying to explain to someone one how the internet works in every aspect would be an impossibly arduous task. The best approach to begin with, is to develop a basic foundation of the workings of the internet.

A Beginner’s View on How the Internet Works

There are many complicated mechanics behind powering the internet. To begin to understand how the internet works we begin with establishing a simple idea of how the internet works. Below is a video created by Data Centres Canada to give a simple but thorough image of what the internet is.

Now that you have some idea into how the internet functions this incredibly informative but simplistic infographic from makeuseof.com further explains how the internet works. Click on the image to link to the full infographic.

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As you are now aware, the internet is basically a network of networks connecting computers around the world. There is no single organization or central location that runs it. A term for this is saying that the internet is decentralized. For the internet to function in this capacity there are a few main factors that must be incorporated to keep it going.

1) Rules

For the internet to work without a single origin of function everyone using it must agree to play by the same set of rules. They must agree upon a common language that is to be used to connect and share on the net. This set of rules and language is known as the internet protocol.

2) Addresses

To send information from one device to another we must be able to know where the information going to be sent. This address is known as an IP address. You are assigned an IP address by your internet service provider.

3) Peering

In a world where companies are trying to contend financially with one another the internet stands apart. Internet service providers used to have to pay one another whenever they needed to access information on another network. Thus this increased costs for customers. They discovered if they all agreed to help each other by agreeing to nix the costs that not only the customers but the providers as well, benefit from the mutual agreement of free information exchange.

A Brief History of the Beginning of the Internet

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With a basis of how the internet works, you now can begin to marvel at the prospects of the process it took to create such a complex network system. One of the main concepts behind the innovation of the internet was that it was not just one person who visualized the internet. The internet was an idea brought about through the minds of a group of inventive thinkers.

According to Forbes and How it Works in the 1950’s the United States created an agency through their Department of Defense named DARPA. The goal of DARPA was to construct a network that would allow various computer systems to connect and communicate information between them. DARPA was created with the idea in mind that the network of information between the computers could survive any war efforts. DARPA would soon grow to build the first wide area network known as ARPANET. ARPANET was one of the first major innovations towards the creation of the internet as we know it today.

One of the problems seen by the creators was a way to connect networks that were working on different operating systems. This dilemma began the creation behind a universal set of rules that would allow computers using different systems to connect to one another. This set of rules called a protocol gave rise to two vital protocols still in place for the internet today. They were the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the Internet Protocol (IP).

In the 1980’s both commercial and private financial support for the project piloted the way for other companies and agencies worldwide to join the internet endeavour. This provided the basis for an amalgamation of many networks worldwide. By the 1990’s the internet was a worldwide sensation that could be seen in almost every facet of our day to day lives.

Below is a video timeline created by the National Media Museum that highlights the major innovations of the internet beginning in the 1970’s till the 1990’s.The video features some of the key innovators behind the invention of the internet.

Internet vs. Web

There is one question that while researching about the internet, I had never contemplated before. It was; what is the difference between the internet and the world-wide web?

Everyone just assumes that the World Wide Web is the internet but it is just the opposite. The web is just one small portion of the internet. According to BBC Newsround the web is a mass of web pages from everywhere and anyone that have made the internet so thrilling. Another program language called HTML is what allows us to use the internet the view almost anything.

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Being able to understand how the internet works and who created it opens up a new appreciation to the access that we all have to the internet every day. The internet wasn’t announced as some major innovation to look out for it sort of just happened. We can only think that it’s lucky it did happen because most of us could not imagine the world today if the internet did not exist.

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Contagious Content

Have you caught the bug ? The viral bug that is.

Over the past fews years viral trends have become a day to day phenomenon on the internet. One of the most recent viral videos to hit the net is the Harlem Shake. With hundreds of different harlem shake videos on YouTube it makes you think, why something so simple and hilarious has become such a world wide internet hit.  Students at the University of Guelph have recently posted there own interpretation of the Harlem Shake (posted below). Only two weeks have gone by and the video has already been viewend over a staggering six million times. This brings forth the big question of what makes drives any online content to go “viral.”

To begin, the best question to ask is:

What does viral mean?

Most people when asked what viral means would most likely name some specific online media that has spread over the web. A video or other widespread online media can go viral when it becomes an overnight internet sensation by the use of social media sites like Facebook, YouTube…etc. The main concept of viral content is that the content is spread quickly from person to person mainly through the use of the internet. As Problogger says when something has “gone viral it has been “well received and widely shared”.

Why does content go viral?

There are four simple reasons for why content goes viral

  1. Simplicity
    If something is simple to comprehend and broken down into easily understood pieces it is more likely it will go viral then some overtly complicated content.
  2.  Relatability
    Everyone likes to relate to each other in different ways. The more relatable your content is to the worldwide audience the more people are likely to want to spread your content for all to see.
  3.  Impact
    The content has to make some kind of impact on the individual viewing it; be it anger, happiness or contemplation. The scale of the impact will determine if they see the content fit to be shared with others.
  4. Location
    The location where the content is published is significant to its viral success. If it is YouTube or social media sites, depending on the tastes of audience that the site caters to is going to decide whether the content takes off or not.

Viral Marketing

Almost every household worldwide today has access to the internet. With smartphones at our disposal the internet can be carried around through hand held devices. With the type of exposure we have to the internet everyday it is not unthinkable to bring marketing campaigns to the net. One way this is accomplished is through the manipulation of viral content.

A new emerging marketing aspect that grasps at the fundamental use of viral content is the business of viral marketing. Viral marketing was described quite well by Urban Dictionary as “An online marketing strategy that encourages people to pass on a marketing message. Amusing and low budget, a good Internet Viral campaign will get internet users passing forwarding the ad to all of their friends and others, giving the company great word of mouth. ”

Below is a great video to further explain what viral marketing is.

Now that you have some idea into what exactly viral marketing implies this fantastic infographic from Problogger goes into the nity gritty of what viral content is and how viral marketing utilizes this content. Click on the thumbnail of the infographic below to view the full infographic.

Summarizing some of the main ideas from the infographic; viral marketing’s main goal is to attempt to go above and beyond the restraints of cost. By utilizing the internet which can be used at no cost, viral marketing is one of the best ways to advertise virtually free of charge.

Top Ten Reasons We Share Content Online

As the name suggests viral content should be like a virus; once it gets going it is difficult to stop but easy and quick to spread. One of the key components to successful viral marketing is to provide content that the public will want to share. Based off of many sources here is a complied list of reasons individuals share content with others.


1. Funny

When something is entertaining and provides a good laugh, who doesn’t want to spread the humour around for all to enjoy. This category can inlcude embarrassing content which is included on a few of the lists for why we share content online.

2. Mind Blowing
Those videos or photos that just astound you and you can’t help but want to flabbergast someone else just as much as you were when you first viewed the content.

3. Emotional
If the content touches you in some way it’s natural to want to share that feeling with others.

4. Opinion
We each have our own opinions and thoughts and when we find an article or video that touches on our beliefs we like to share it with other people with the same ideas and opinions.

 5. Stop and Think
If something makes you stop and think about life by sharing it you may have passed on that opportunity for illumination to someone else.

 6. Not Too Mainstream
Content that has snuck by mainstream media is too tempting not to share with others to pass along the undiscovered stories.

7. Happy
It’s plain and simple if is puts a smile on your face, then pass it along so someone else may experience that same joy upon viewing the media.

8. Dramatic
We all live for a little drama and dramatic content is the juiciest to pass along.

9. Risky
Everyone loves to take risks and risky content is hard to forgo sharing with others.

10. Practicality
Useful content is always going to be passed along because if it simplifies something you can do if can do the same thing for other people.

The main idea behind this list is to focus on the main reasons people share content online. By focusing on this viral marketer’s can tailor how to demonstrate their products in the best way that people will want to share their product and its message.

Where to promote the shared content?

Knowing the types of content people willingly share with others is the core of viral marketing. But once a great piece of content is created the next step is figuring out where to promote it. Be it a video or photos, an article or a good joke deciding which site is most likely to cater to the tastes of the audience you are trying to provide to is what will decide whether your content takes off or not.

There are many sites to choose from and that is one of the final aspects to viral marketing; deciding where to try and promote your content with the most likely chance that it could go viral.

Viral Success

Some of the most successful viral examples today include people like; Justin Bieber, Psy and Susan Boyle. All of these instant sensations are the products of a YouTube video gone viral. Viral campaigns by companies such as Old Spice are perfect examples of viral marketing done right. Not only have viral videos launched the careers of some of today’s celebrities, viral photos like memes have become a worldwide interent trend .

Viral content can spread like wild fire once it gets going on the net. A great viral marketing campaign  takes plenty of work and development. From connecting with the right online audience, to making sure your content is share-able. But the benefits include an almost no charge advertising campaign that can possibly spread around the world.

As technology continually becomes an even bigger part of our everyday life viral marketing will continue to crop up and even become a part of our everyday life in some ways.

Lastly is a bit of comic relief  of what viral marketing could lead to in the future.

Are you techno-panicked ?

Recently I had the wonderful fortune of becoming an aunt to a beautiful niece. Being the first grandchild in my family everyone has been itching to see every little aspect of her ever increasing growth. With my sister choosing a permanent residence a few hours from home, the internet became a way to share images and videos of the day to day shenanigans of the newest member of our family. The first few months were a world wind of photos being uploaded to Facebook every few days as the little tyke seemed to do something post worthy with every new face or poopy diaper she made. This explosion of videos and photos came to a sudden halt about  a month ago. Curious by the removal of almost all things my niece on my sisters profile, I decided to call my sister to inquire into this strange conundrum. To my surprise she had almost completely removed all photo and video evidence of my niece due to concern from other parents about the recent perils of posting photos of children online.

To post or not to post, that is the BIG question!

As with my sister, lots of people today are using social media sites as practically online baby books. Documenting literally EVERYTHING their children do.

The Online Mom posted a list of great tips when it comes to posting photos of your children online.

1) Rub-a-dub-dub no babies in the tub!
-nothing nude belongs on the net

2) Hey! I know that park!
-avoid having any photos with any kind of logo or signs that can be used to identify the location or something personal about your child

3) Just Ask
-if the photos involve any other parent’s child, ask if they approve if you intend to post the photo

4) That’s Private, don’t touch!
-Facebook privacy settings aren’t all there cracked up to be, be careful with how you handle the things you post

Why so worried?

According to the New York Times there are two situations with parents and the World Wide Web. Some are completely fine with posting anything child related on the net. Others are cautious with the dangers faced on the web. The parents who to tend to air on the side of caution are applying methods like only posting photos on password protected website and not posting their child’s name. In an article posted by CNN they reported

“66% of parents reported posting picture of their children online…”

What do you think, are we to open with the information and photos we share of our children online?

After my sisters crack down on the photos uploaded of my niece. She asked family and friends to please stop uploading photos of my niece taken from their smartphones. The reason, a little thing called geo-tagging.

Geo-What?

Geotagging you may be asking, what is that? Geotagging is when you take a picture or video on your smartphone and your geographical location is saved in the digital files of the media. Geotagging automatically happens on almost all smartphones with a camera. According to ABC Science the file not only stores data such as the date and time the photo or video was taken but it can also store extra information like your exact latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates. Depending on how much data your phone saves, the name of the place you are may be saved along in the file.

Below is a video explaining geotagging and the risks it poses on the privacy of not only you but your family. This one tiny feature can become a cyber-stalkers dream.

To stop your phone from geotagging everytime take a photo or video you must scour through the settings on your smartphone to turn it off.

For easy instructions on how to turn off geotagging on the IPhone, Google Android or Blackberry smartphones, visit:

http://icanstalku.com/how.php