Via our friend, KW: Ethan Zuckerman, one of the early web developers, talks about the original purpose of the web, in The Cute Cat Theory Talk at etech:
Web 1.0 was invented to allow physicists to share research papers.
Web 2.0 was created to allow people to share pictures of cute cats.
I had a front-row seat for this transition, working with Tripod. We sincerely believed that the purpose of the web was to give college graduates helpful information about renting apartments, applying for jobs and investing their money. Our users rapidly told us that what the web was really about was publishing their own information… which left us with the difficult challenge of figuring out how to make money off of people’s collections of cat pictures.
His twin themes of cats and activism produced the wonderful chart:
Another piece of evidence against the crazy cat lady hypothesis!