Websites that changed the world

The Observer has a list of Websites that changed the world, I must admit that I am not really surprised to find Thatchspace there but some of the choices seem odd.

A lot of the usual suspects were there, Yahoo, Google, ebay, Amazon, slashdot and at number 11 was, a site that I read frequently and have done for a long time. I was unaware of how it came in to existence. Here is some of the post…

Founded: David Talbot, 1995, US
Users: Between 2.5 and 3.5m unique visitors per month

What is it? Online magazine and media company Salon grew out of a strike. When the San Francisco Examiner was shut for a couple of weeks in 1994 a few of its journalists taught themselves HTML and had a go at doing a newspaper with new technology. They found the experience liberating, and David Talbot, the Examiner’s arts editor, subsequently gave up his job and launched the kind of online paper he had always wanted to work for. Salon was originally a forum for discussing books, but the editors quickly realised it had to be more journalistic than that. They aimed at creating a ‘smart tabloid’, not afraid to be mischievous while maintaining a rigour with news. Talbot believes that online journalism came of age with the death of Princess Diana and the Lewinsky scandal. It proved with those events that it could be nimbler and more gossipy, it could update itself continually and, crucially, let readers join in. Salon’s Table Talk forum established a new relationship between a news outfit and its audience, letting readers write themselves into the story.

What I find interesting is the omissions, for example where the hell is Sourceforge? The main repository of open source projects.

Where is CSS Zen Garden , every time I read an article by the people who write websites rather than the people who consume them, this site name pops up as a major influence.

The Mozilla website should probably get a mention as well, if FireFox hasn’t changed the the world (200 million downloads and forcing Microsoft to do something about fixing the browser 70% of the world uses daily) then I don’t know what has.

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