NEW YORK – The launch of Wikipedia, emergence of the iPhone and the election of U.S. President Barack Obama were among the 10 most influential moments on the Internet in the past decade, according to the annual Webby awards.
Other events singled out by the New York-based International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, which has presented the annual Webby awards since 1996, were the Iranian election in 2009 when protests demonstrated the power of Twitter and other social network in reshaping democracy.
“The Internet is the story of the decade because it was the catalyst for change in not just every aspect of our everyday lives, but in everything from commerce and communication to politics and pop culture,” said David-Michel Davies, the executive director of The Webby Awards, in a statement.
“The recurring theme among all of the milestones on our list is the Internet’s capacity to circumvent old systems and put more power into the hands of ordinary people.”
Here is the Webby’s list of the 10 most influential Internet moments of the decade:
– Craigslist, the free classifieds site, expands outside San Francisco in 2000, impacting newspaper publishers everywhere
– Google AdWords launched in 2000 allowing advertisers to target their customers with laser-sharp precision
– Wikipedia, the free open-source encyclopaedia, launches in 2001 and today boasts more than 14 million articles in 271 different languages and bringing strangers together on projects
– Napster shutdown in 2001, opening the file-sharing floodgates
– Google’s IPO in 2004 put the search engine on the path to powering countless aspects of our everyday lives
– Online video revolution in 2006 that led to a boom in homemade and professional content on the Internet and helped reshape everything from pop culture to politics
– Facebook opens to non-college students and Twitter takes off in 2006
– The iPhone debuts in 2007 and smartphones go from a luxury item to a necessity with an app for just about every aspect of modern life
– U.S. presidential campaign in 2008 in which the Internet changed every facet of the way campaigns are run
– Iranian election protests in 2009 when Twitter proved vital in organising demonstrations and as a protest too