Ten years this week — February 20, 1996, to be exact — I first put up a “home page” on the world wide web. My advertising professor, Dale Brill, taught a optional two-hour short course on HTML, a course that would remain the extent of my formal internet education. A few days later, I had a web page. The site consisted of one page creatively titled, “The Home Page of Jared Bridges.” It took me another week before I figured out how to add a photo to the page.
My site was housed initially on the University of Tennessee’s servers, and migrated after college to whichever ISP I was using. I acquired my domain name in 2000, and turned the site into a blog in 2003.
Today, it’s difficult to imagine a time without the tool that is the internet. A year after I built the web page, I first ordered books from an upstart called Amazon.com. I held my breath as I sat in the computer lab and clicked “submit,” wondering where my credit card information would end up. Those were the pioneer days, when the mention of the term “website” in most company was likely to conjure up visions of a spider’s lair.
For nearly a third of my life now, I’ve had a some sort of web presence. In the last ten years, I’ve seen the web used for the extremes of both good and bad. In a moral sense the internet is neutral — it can reflect both the sinfulness and Christ-hauntedness of those who use it.
I’ll be the first to confess that at times I’ve used this unique form of communication to appeal to more to my own vanity rather than reflecting the glory of One whose communication brings life out of nothingness. On the internet, as in life, the self can be manifest in many false ways. On the internet, as in life, we need more selves that better reflect the reality of our Creator’s world. May God make the next ten years prosperous in pursuit of that goal.