What fascinates me about the web

I first got on the web in 1994. The early days. I distinctly remember being fascinated and thrilled (literally - it felt thrilling) to be able to "access" another person's or organisation's server and "read" documents there as a "page". Not only this, but I could click these things called "hyperlinks" and be taken to someone else's server in a flash. That to me, at the time, was incredible. There was nothing else like it.

Then came the realisation I could make these pages myself (if I could find some space on a server to host them) without permission from an authority and without lots of complicated programming. I could just write this simple stuff called HTML and I was suddenly a publisher on a level pegging with everyone else on the web.

Today I am fascinated by the fact it has grown so big and yet it is so decentralised in terms of infrastructure (despite being alarmingly centralised around a few large corps right now). The web is about people agreeing to do things in a certain way (standards and protocols). It's fascinating and amazing something so uncontrolled works, but it does. The web is the finest manifestation of human cooperation and agreement there can be.

I'm participating in the University of Southampton's Web Science course on FutureLearn. This post was originally a comment on one of the modules. I posted it here to just for the heck of it and to celebrate the web and independent publishing.