Funky Colour

How Web Developers Shaped Communication, Commerce, and Entertainment

Is web development dead or in the process of dying? For the last few years, this seems to have been the burning (and rather demotivating) question floating around the net’s relevant spheres. Which got me thinking about Steven Pinker and his book “Enlightenment Now.” 

Pinker found that life for humans has improved significantly since The Age of Enlightenment and supports his case with data. Despite lower rates of violence and poverty and improved access to luxuries and education, he also discovered we humans still look through a glass half empty lens.

Even a brilliant mind like Pinker had to look back to comprehend the breadth of human progress over time. We’re also going to take a little journey to the “the before time, the long long ago.”

Rather than mourning the death of something very much alive and well, it’s time to get grateful for what we have and find out how we arrived there. Let’s examine how web developers helped to shape the world of communication, commerce, and entertainment.😇

Communication

It’s official, nearly 50% of the world’s population now frequents social media. That’s 3.6 billion users globally, to be exact. And according to the same research from statista.com, your average internet user spends well over two hours a day scrolling social media feeds.

The advent of social media has undoubtedly shaped the way humans communicate and how businesses market their products. And because you can message or call people halfway across the world for free, social networking sites have made the world a little smaller.

Communication

Social media has been a vital communication lifeline to many, especially amid a global pandemic when traveling to see family and loved ones is difficult.

It has also been a great equalizer between small businesses and larger corporations. And with fewer barriers to information, independent content creators and thinkers now have a platform to share their thoughts.

If you’re social media savvy, you can market products, services, and ideas to people who might never have known you exist, and it doesn’t cost the Earth to do so.  

Six Degrees of Separation 

It all started with one of the first social network service websites, SixDegrees.com, founded in 1996 by CEO Andrew Weinreich. The site worked with the Web of Contacts model and allowed users to post bulletin board items within their first, second, and third-degree social connections.

Social networking sites like Friendster, MySpace, LinkedIn, XING, and of course, Facebook followed. 2020 stats highlight that Facebook now has 2.41 billion active users per month and is the world’s third-most visited site.

Social media certainly has its downsides; it negatively impacts young people’s mental health, for example (see “The Coddling of the American Mind” by Jonathan Haidt, Greg Lukianoff). Plus the question of tech censorship, whereby some assert there is too much censoring of free speech, others claim there isn’t enough.

Maybe an aspect of web development’s future lies in ironing out these kinks?

Commerce

I raise this next point knowing, as always, that a time and a place exists for in-real-life interaction. Conducting everything online removes the much-needed face to face connections crucial to our mental and physical wellbeing.

Commerce

Conversely, people with chronic illnesses, disabilities, and other extenuating circumstances can’t always do the IRL shopping thing. Online commerce is also painfully relevant to the old global pandemic schtick in our midst.

If you told a 10-year-old me that in 2019 consumers would spend $601.75 billion online with U.S. merchants, I’d reply, ‘What’s spending online? Is that like QVC or something?’ Because it was almost unheard of, and my Mum LOVED QVC — shout out to Christmas in July. 

Design Bundles started their journey in 2015 by developing a landing page offering their first “Font Bundle,” with 96% off the RRP. Providing design elements in money-saving bundles was almost unheard of at the time.

The three friends and founders didn’t stop there. After the success of their first bundle, they developed the first-ever PUA encoded online marketplace, FontBundles.net offering free fonts for commercial use among other free and premium products. Then in July 2016, they launched DesignBundles.net. 

Entertainment

Thanks to the world-wide-web and the developers who continue to shape it, the average person now has access to a world of online entertainment. From music to films/TV series, and even wrestling (it’s still real to me 😭), the way we access and consume entertainment has changed dramatically.

Entertainment

Let’s take Netflix as an example. Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph founded the American content platform and production company in 1997, and by the third quarter of 2020, a whopping 195.15 million paid subscribers signed up globally. And if you love Netflix and chill, you have Python wielding developers to thank for the experience. 

Just When You Think You Have the Answers 

Let’s stick with the subject of on-demand entertainment streaming services. Do you love old school territory wrassling, showbiz ‘sports entertainment,’ or hold a special place in your heart for both? *Puts hand up, loves wrestling*

Thanks to the developers behind the WWE Network, you can now access most wrestling archives (from ECW to Mid-South Wrestling, or my personal favorite AWA Championship Wrestling) and the current WWE product all in one place. 

Fangirling aside, this was a massive evolution in the way people consume wrestling brought into fruition by talented developers — WOO!