History of Internet Day, facts, and the best ways to celebrate!

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That’s right, Thursday, October 29th marks National Internet Day, an occasion to celebrate this indispensable staple of 21st century life. If you’re wondering how to celebrate Internet Day this year, let its biggest fans at iD Tech be your guide. 

First things first—let’s take a look at the origins of the very thing bringing this blog post to your screen right now. 

History of National Internet Day 

This history of National Internet Day has everything to do with the history of the internet itself. October 29th marks the anniversary of the first ever electronic message sent via a network. 

51 years ago today in a nondescript UCLA lab, professor Leonard Kleinrock sent a two-node transmission to his colleagues at Stanford. 

Unfortunately, this attempt did crash after the first two letters of the intended message, “log in.” But hey, you’ve got to start somewhere! 

Kleinrock and his team continued their work; later that year, they created the first permanent ARPANET connection, an early fore parent of today’s internet. From there, many scientists over the next two decades built upon their work and added their own innovations and discoveries to global scientific knowledge. 

Fast forward to 1989, the next milestone in the history of the internet: the birth of the world wide web.

British scientist Tim Berners-Lee spent the late 1980s and early 90s creating hypertext markup language (HTML), the first uniform resource locator (URL), and hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP).

Those acronyms sound familiar, right? That’s because Berners-Lee and his team laid the foundation for the internet as we know it today. 

So let’s take a moment to celebrate the great minds that made sharing of information, connecting globally, and, most importantly of all, sending funny animal videos possible!

Ways to Celebrate National Internet Day

Here are six easy, fun, and tech-y ways to celebrate National Internet day. 

1. Explore “The Internet of Things” 

Discovery Education has put together the ultimate ode to the internet in the form of a seriously cool virtual field trip.

“The Internet of Things” provides a fascinating glimpse into the many ways the internet shapes daily life. Through a range of resources, this virtual field trip also explores the internet’s endless possibilities for creating a more sustainable world. 

2. Take off in Google’s Flight Simulator

You read that correctly. What better way to celebrate the internet than using it to fly around the world? 

Google Earth is an amazing platform in and of itself; from visiting the Great Wall of China, to strolling through the streets of Paris, to climbing Machu Picchu, there are a number of awesome applications that are perfect for National Internet Day. 

The Google Flight Simulator, however, holds a special place in our hearts for its STEM applications and its unique web experience. 

3. Virtually Visit a Museum, Zoo, or National Park

After months of being more home-bound than ever, a virtual visit to an exciting place can be a welcome microvacation.

Forbes compiled a list of some of the internet’s very best virtual tours. Whether the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the San Diego Zoo, or - if you’re really looking to get away from it all - the surface of Mars catches your fancy, the internet can get you there from the comfort of your couch. 

Plus, this makes for a great family indoor or after-school activity! Brainstorm where in the world you’d most like to visit, and spend quality time together by exploring the world. 

4. Learn to Code

After all, we wouldn’t have an internet unless people knew how to code. While of course we would argue that every day is a great day for kids to learn Java, Python, C++, or Scratch, October 29th is a particularly opportune one! 

Seize the (National Internet) day and learn to program; there are tons of free resources to get started when it comes to coding for kids. There is also hardly a shortage of reasons why coding is important and inspiration to get started on a path to an exciting career in tech

If you could use a little expert guidance to get started, you’ve come to the right place! iD Tech offers a wide range of coding courses, and lessons in robotics and game design, offered both in small-group after-school programs and private tutoring lesson formats.  

5. Catch up with a friend

The ability to connect people, even from a distance, is among the very best superpowers of the internet. 

We all know that Zoom fatigue is real, and that learning online can be exhausting sometimes, so use National Internet Day to break that mold! 

Think of someone you haven’t seen or spoken to in a while, and set a time to connect in a creative way. Follow a delicious recipe together over video chat, or check out Airbnb’s impressive list of online experiences to share with someone you care about. 

Even if it’s just a plain old FaceTime or Skype call, making time for friends and family is especially important these days, and we have the internet to thank for helping us stick together (even if we’re technically far apart). 

6. Check out these fun facts!

If you only have a few minutes for your National Internet Day celebration, look no further than these ten fun facts! 

1. The internet is 11,315 days old today. Happy birthday, internet! 

2. Google receives over 63,000 searches per second every day. That’s a lot of questions. 

3. The “Despascito” music video is the most watched YouTube video of all time, clocking over 7 billion views. Plus one more reluctant view in the name if researching this blog post. 

4. 30,000 websites are hacked every day. Now would be a great time to double check the security of your passwords! 

5. Every minute, 300 hours of content is uploaded to YouTube. That’s 5 hours of content per second.

6. As of last year, texting/messaging is the #1 use of the internet, shortly followed by email. We can only imagine what these statistics will look like after a socially distanced 2020. 

7. The first website to grace the world wide web is still online! Check it out for some truly vintage internet surfing. 

8. The longest ever video call was 11,605 hours, 21 minutes and 58 seconds long. That certainly puts some lengthy meetings and school days into perspective. 

9. Dr. Linda Galdino and her team set the fastest internet speed world record, 178,000 megabits per second. Can you imagine what Netflix would be like at that speed?? 

10. UCLA has recreated the birthplace of the internet. Bringing it all back to the very origin of Internet Day, UCLA recreated the room where it happened, right down to matching the wall’s paint color to its 1960s shade. 

No matter how you choose to celebrate, iD Tech wishes you a fun, cyber-safe, and extra tech-y Internet Day!

A photo of Virginia

Virginia started with iD Tech at the University of Denver in 2015 and has loved every minute since then! A former teacher by trade, she has a master's in education and loves working to embolden the next generation through STEM. Outside the office, you can usually find her reading a good book, struggling on a yoga mat, or exploring the Rocky Mountains.